Debt Management http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7681/all en-US The 5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-score_000032762958.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you know what your credit score is? Your credit score is the entirety of your credit history condensed into a single number that lenders (and sometimes potential employers, landlords, and others) will use to approve or deny you and determine your interest rate. And if you've been struggling to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=fico">build or rebuild your credit</a>, it can help tremendously to learn your credit score each month.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are credit cards that will offer customers their credit score each month at no additional charge. This started after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau encouraged card issuers to do so. Some card issuers began offering credit scores last year, while others have just gotten around to it. Below are the best cards that currently offer free credit scores, and more are expected to join this list later this year.</p> <h2>Discover it&reg; - Double Cash Back your first year</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26153835&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=605215" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img width="154" height="98" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220537/605215.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" /></a>Discover was the first issuer to provide free FICO credit scores to their cardholders. Their cards also include the new Freeze It on/off switch that allows you to prevent new activity on your card in seconds. Cardholders receive their first late payment fee waived, have no penalty interest rate, and access to 100% US based customer service.</p> <p>Their APR starts at a low 10.99% (goes up to 22.99%) variable, after their 12 month 0% intro period. The Discover it line of cards include its original cash back <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26153835&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Discover it&reg;</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-discover-it-chrome-card-no-fuss-rewards?ref=5xscore" target="_blank">Discover it&reg; chrome</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-it-miles-simple-and-flexible-travel-rewards?ref=5xscore" target="_blank">Discover it&reg; Miles</a>. The Discover it card is its most popular, offering 1% cash back on all purchases, plus an additional 4% cash back on up to $1,500 spent on select categories of purchases that change each quarter. Finally, new cardholders get double their cash back earned at the end of their first year. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26153835&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to apply for the Discover it card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12003694?sid=5x-credit-scores" target="_blank"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiDoubleCash.jpg" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>Citi recently began offering free FICO scores to their cardholders. The FICO score that Citi is offering is based on cardholder's credit history as recorded by Equifax. One of Citi&rsquo;s newest and most popular cards is the <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12003694?sid=5x-credit-scores" target="_blank">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a> which rewards you for paying off your purchases with additional cash back. Cardholders earn 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase, then earn an additional 1% back when those purchases are paid. There are no caps and no category restrictions. New cardholders get 0% intro APR for 15 months. After that the APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, depending on your credit. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12003694?sid=5x-credit-scores" target="_blank">Click here to apply for the Citi Double Cash Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards?ref=5xscores" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="97" align="right" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/219963/598863.png" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>All of Capital One&rsquo;s credit cards include the Capital One Credit Tracker, a credit monitoring tool that offers features like a credit simulator, which allows you to see how actions can affect your score, credit alerts if your report changes, and a grade overview that provides information on factors that impact your credit. Its credit score is based on TransUnion provided information.</p> <p>A popular card is the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards?ref=5xscores" target="_blank">Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</a>, which offer unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It includes a 0% intro APR until April 2016, and a variable APR of 12.9%-22.9% after that. New cardholders can earn $100 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, get a 20% statement credit on Uber rides purchases with this card through April 2016. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards?ref=5xscores" target="_blank">Click here to apply for the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Chase Slate&reg;</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=10986971&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=604579" title="Chase Slate&reg;" alt="Chase Slate&reg;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img width="154" border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/198669/604579.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" /></a>Chase recently announced Slate would be its first card offered with a free FICO score. <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=10986971&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Chase Slate&reg;</a>&nbsp;is already highly regarded as offering the only interest free balance transfer offer with no balance transfer fees. New cardholders receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with no fee for transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. The APR after the intro period is 12.99%-22.99% depending on your credit.</p> <p>If you have this card, or are thinking about it, you probably have some debt accrued that you&rsquo;re trying hard to pay off. Cardholders of this card would especially benefit from seeing their monthly FICO score go up as their balance goes down. Additionally, Chase offers the Credit Dashboard which helps you monitor your credit health by including the reasons behind your score, a summary of your credit report information, and tips on managing your credit. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=10986971&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to apply for the Chase Slate card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Barclaycard&reg; Ring MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=16694762&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=575558&amp;foc=1" title="Barclaycard&reg; Ring MasterCard&reg;" alt="Barclaycard&reg; Ring MasterCard&reg;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/209357/575558.jpg" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" /></a><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=16694762&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Barclaycard&reg; Ring MasterCard&reg;</a> is a unique card that offers benefits through crowdsourcing. Cardholders propose ideas and vote for the things they want for the card. It also features a Giveback program where members may receive a percentage of the company&rsquo;s profits. In addition to offering a free FICO score every month, the card also features a low 8% variable APR on balance transfers and purchases, with no balance transfer fees. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=16694762&amp;fot=1243&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Ring card today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">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/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</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/get-free-credit-score-monitoring-with-credit-karma">Get Your Free Credit Score from Credit Karma</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/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</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/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what">Oops — I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?</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-a-solid-credit-score-saves-you-money">How a Solid Credit Score Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management credit scores fico Sun, 28 Jun 2015 17:34:23 +0000 Jason Steele 1472453 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_graduate_000021016547.jpg" alt="New grad refinancing student loans with private lenders" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unlike mortgages and cars loans, the options for refinancing student debt have always been few and far between. Now, a handful of innovative lending startups are helping borrowers trim away at the $1 trillion in outstanding <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-your-finances">student loan debt</a> owed by college graduates. It's a big market. Two-thirds of students at four-year private schools and more than half of all students at public ones take out loans, according to federal data.</p> <h2>SoFI</h2> <p><a href="https://www.sofi.com/refinance-student-loan/?source=104">SoFi</a>, a San Francisco company, says it saves borrowers who refinance their loans an average of $9,400 over 10 years by offering low fixed-rate and variable interest loans, as well as career coaching. An anonymous reviewer on CreditKarma rated SoFi five stars, saying the firm helped him <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/reviews/personal-loan/single/id/sofi-personal-loans?pgsz=25&amp;prdhlder=0#reviewsListFullWrapper">save $900 per month</a> in interest and slashed more than 60% off of his original interest rate. Not too shabby.</p> <p>No, it's not too good to be true. But there is a catch.</p> <p>SoFi's loans are limited to &quot;highly qualified&quot; graduates hailing from an exclusive list of colleges and universities. If your school is on the list, however, SoFi will tap into your alumni network, connecting you to investors from the same alma mater. It's sort of like banking meets LinkedIn. SoFi makes borrowing personal, which comes with a slew of added benefits &mdash; opportunities for career advising, networking, and entrepreneurial support. In fact, SoFi claims its <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2015/03/sofi-social-finance-student-loans-mortgages-ipo.html">novel alumni lending scheme</a> has helped 60 members find new jobs and more than 20 entrepreneurs start new businesses. &quot;I'll admit it,&quot; said Jennifer Beall, a Northwestern graduate whose SoFi story is trumpeted on the firm's webpage. &quot;I'm obsessed with SoFi. I discovered SoFi and began the process of refinancing my loans, which led to over $5,000 in savings on interest.&quot;</p> <h2>Upstart</h2> <p><a href="https://www.upstart.com/">Upstart</a>, another new, low-cost lender, considers things like your academic performance and work history when calculating your rate. Shedding student debt is a whole new game when your rate is based on Upstart's predictive modeling algorithm, which measures <a href="http://millennialmagazine.com/paul-gu-tackles-the-issue-of-student-loans-with-upstart/">your potential future income</a> &mdash; not just what you're currently earning. Folks with advanced degrees and good jobs &mdash; or at least a solid job offer &mdash; will get the best rates from Upstart. Co-founder Paul Gu describes the algorithm as imperfect, opening the door to many borrowers who might get shut out by traditional lending banks, while unintentionally excluding others. Gu admits that he himself doesn't even qualify for a loan through his own company. The algorithm, he says, is a work in progress.</p> <h2>CommonBond</h2> <p><a href="https://commonbond.co/refinance-loan?utm_source=Partnership&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=SLHMAR15&amp;utm_campaignname=Student+Loan+Hero+-+March+2015&amp;newparameter=104">CommonBond</a>, another non-bank lender, has so far handed out more than $200 million in loans to more than 2,000 borrowers with MBA, law, medical, and engineering graduate degrees. Like SoFi and Upstart, not every student with debt will qualify for refinancing. What sets CommonBond apart from other alternative lenders is that it allows student loan debtors to consolidate undergrad and graduate loans into a variety of fixed rate, adjustable rate, and hybrid loans. The company claims its borrowers save, on average, $10,000 over the life of the loan. There are no application fees, no origination fees, no prepayment penalties.</p> <p>Let's recap. With private lenders like SoFi, Upstart, and CommonBond, you can slash your interest debt by refinancing. That is, if you qualify. These firms adhere to nontraditional eligibility requirements, which can be great &mdash; so long as you earned the right degree or attended the right college or landed the right job. These new, lower-cost lenders are mostly going after students they consider sure bets. And who could blame them? About 10% of the 4.7 million students who graduated with federal loan debt in 2011 had defaulted by 2012, the government reports, which means they didn't make any payments for at least nine months.</p> <p>The bottom line: you can save a ton by refinancing your student loans with one of these new-age private lenders &mdash; so long as you fit the profile of what these firms classify as a &quot;safe bet.&quot;</p> <p><em>How are you paying off your student loan(s)? Have you considered consolidating with one of these lenders?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">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-2"> <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/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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/cancel-student-loans-to-save-and-receive-an-interest-free-120-day-loan">Cancel Student Loans to Save — and Receive an Interest-Free 120-Day Loan</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/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</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/share-your-thoughts-consolidating-student-loans">Share Your Thoughts: Consolidating Student Loans</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/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training private lenders refinancing school student loans Thu, 11 Jun 2015 13:00:13 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1448399 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Lies Rich People Never Tell Themselves http://www.wisebread.com/10-lies-rich-people-never-tell-themselves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-lies-rich-people-never-tell-themselves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_wallet_000018310302.jpg" alt="Poor woman telling lies to herself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are all guilty of telling ourselves little white lies on a daily basis. Anything from &quot;One more slice of cake won't make a difference,&quot; to &quot;There's time to watch one more episode before bed.&quot; However, some of the lies we tell ourselves about money, especially if we're short on it, can be very harmful.</p> <p>They are the lies that keep us <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-debt-settlement-can-leave-you-deeper-in-debt-even-with-trustworthy-companies">in debt</a>, and stop us from living the life we really want to live. Here are 10 of the biggest lies that struggling people tell themselves week after week &mdash; and that successful people never tell themselves.</p> <h2>1. &quot;I Really Need It!&quot;</h2> <p>We need to separate the want from the need. Do any of us really need the latest smartphone? Do we need to dine out every Friday night? Do we need a $40,000 wedding? (No one does.) Do we need new clothes? And if we do need new clothes, do they need to be brand new, or can they come from a thrift store?</p> <p>We will convince ourselves, through a series of pep talks and excuses, that we really need to have something. But often, we just want it. People who are good with money will know the difference between what they need, and what they want, and if they cannot afford it, they won't get it.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Credit is FREE Money!&quot;</h2> <p>No, it's not. Credit is actually more expensive money, if you really want to analyze it. Almost all credit comes with an annual APR, so when you borrow money, be it on a credit card, a loan, or any other form of credit, you are entering into a contract to pay back the money you borrow <em>plus </em>interest. Some people think that by getting out a bunch of credit cards, they are helping themselves to a ton of free money. But those bills will have to be paid at some point, and the interest will be accumulating until it's paid off. This also leads into another huge lie&hellip;</p> <h2>3. &quot;I Can Only Afford to Pay the Minimum.&quot;</h2> <p>Actually, none of us can really afford to pay only the minimum on credit cards and loans. The interest quickly racks up on any debt you incur, and by paying the minimum you are spending it almost entirely on paying off that monthly interest charge. That means very little, if any, of the money we pay back on a loan gets applied to the principal. For instance, if we have $5000 on a credit card with an 11.9% interest rate, and pay $100 a month on that card, it will take 70 months to pay it off. We will have paid almost $2000 in interest. By doubling that payment to $200 a month, it takes just 29 months, and we pay only $775 in interest.</p> <h2>4. &quot;I'm Never Going to Have Any Money Anyway.&quot;</h2> <p>Says who? There are many examples of people who came from nothing and made fortunes; Oprah Winfrey is perhaps the most famous example of that. If we continue to tell ourselves that we won't be successful, or we are destined to be financially challenged, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By thinking positive, we can at least start to get out of that rut and make opportunities for ourselves.</p> <h2>5. &quot;I Have to Buy It; It's on Sale.&quot;</h2> <p>There are several ways to look at sales. They can be opportunities to save money, or even make money. By all means, we should shop the sales when we are looking for a specific item. However, buying something when it's on sale <em>just</em> because it is on sale is a terrible way to waste money.</p> <p>If we buy something, for instance a blender, for $60 because it is reduced by $20, we think we've saved money. But if we didn't really need a new blender (remember the need vs. want argument) we haven't saved $20 at all&hellip;we've spent $60. It can get even worse when we buy lots of sale items simply because we like the feeling we get of saving money. We cannot fall into that trap. Unless we really need something, or can see a way to buy and sell at a profit, we should all avoid those sales like the plague.</p> <h2>6. &quot;Everyone Has a Car Payment.&quot;</h2> <p>Ask around at work. Ask your friends, and family. You will find out that some people have small car payments, other have huge car payments, and some have no payments at all. The ones who don't have a payment are smart. They either paid off their car in one lump sum, or made monthly payments until it was paid in full, and then kept the car. We all get tempted by the latest models, and as few of us can afford to drop $25,000 to $30,000 on a shiny new car, we opt for a monthly bill. But that monthly bill comes at a cost greater than money. It's taking away from money we could be putting into a savings account, or spending on experiences like vacations or education.</p> <h2>7. &quot;I've Earned It.&quot;</h2> <p>&quot;I worked really hard this week, I've earned this $5 cup of coffee.&quot; &quot;I worked an extra shift, I definitely earned this new outfit.&quot; We are all guilty of this kind of thinking. We work hard, we feel like we earned the rewards that come from those endeavors. However, what are those little treats really costing us?</p> <p>A $5 cup of coffee every day is around $150 a month. That's $1800 every year. What could that money buy us, especially when we can make a decent cup of coffee at home for just pennies? What we have really earned is the chance to have a better life, and we're cheating ourselves out of it by spending money on frivolous things just because they give us a few extra minutes of pleasure.</p> <h2>8. &quot;It's Only Money.&quot;</h2> <p>That's a little like saying &quot;It's only oxygen.&quot; We need money to live (unless we have found a way to survive without it, which is rare to say the least). That kind of blasé attitude to money is what keeps poor people poor; rich people never think that way about money. It shows a complete lack of respect for the currency that we need to live on, and if we spend like there's no tomorrow, guess what&hellip;tomorrow is going to suck. Money may not bring us happiness, but a lack of it can certainly make us very unhappy, and even unhealthy.</p> <h2>9. &quot;I'm Not Gonna Live Forever.&quot;</h2> <p>Add &quot;You only live once (YOLO)&quot; to that, and &quot;Spend it while you're young enough to enjoy it.&quot; The problem with that kind of thinking is that the money runs out, the debt piles up, and we are committing ourselves to a future of worry, stress, and life without any kind of comfort. Humans are living longer lives. We may not live forever (yet) but we need to live like there's a long future ahead of us, and save accordingly.</p> <h2>10. &quot;Something Will Turn Up.&quot;</h2> <p>Relying on luck to change our fortunes is foolhardy. Yes, something may very well turn up out of the blue. We may buy a lottery ticket and win millions. The chances of it happening are microscopic, but it could happen. We may also get a massive promotion at work, out of the blue. However, most of the time we create our own luck. We need to make sure that we're working towards a way to grasp opportunities when they present themselves, or the things that &quot;turn up&quot; could include unexpected medical bills, unemployment, or bankruptcy.</p> <p><em>What lies about money do you tell yourself?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lies-rich-people-never-tell-themselves">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-3"> <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/the-bailbondsman-approach-why-some-of-us-stay-broke">The Bailbondsman Approach: Why Some Of Us Stay Broke</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/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</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/what-is-true-affordability">What Is True Affordability?</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-times-to-avoid-debit-or-credit-cards">7 Times to Avoid Debit or Credit Cards</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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management broke money poor shopping spending Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:00:18 +0000 Paul Michael 1447201 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix Them http://www.wisebread.com/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_financial_stress_000049415546.jpg" alt="Woman falling for financial traps preventing her from saving" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nobody likes a love interest that plays &quot;mind games.&quot;</p> <p>It's a waste of time, energy, and money. But you may be guilty of something almost as bad: playing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you">mind games</a> with yourself when it comes to saving. There are certain behaviors, inherent to many of us, that increase our chances of spending all of our paycheck. Avoid these top four psychological traps holding you back from saving:</p> <h2>1. Lizard Brain</h2> <p>Sometimes you can just blame it on your genes.</p> <p>Back in the cavemen era, humans had a really hard time surviving. There was always a violent predator around the corner ready to take a bite out of them. This constant state of imminent danger put one part of our brains in overdrive &mdash; the amygdala. Sometimes known as the &quot;lizard brain&quot; (because that's all a lizard has for brain function), the amygdala is in charge of very basic functions, such as as fight, flight, nutrition, and sex.</p> <p>The lizard brain made our ancestors act very emotionally and live as if every day was the very last of their lives. Eat every last piece of food now, and leave everything behind at the first sign of danger, it said. The constant threat of danger kept cavemen on their toes and made them act impulsively.</p> <p>Many centuries have passed and humans have evolved for the better, but the amygdala is still part of our brain, and many of us want to enjoy our money <em>now. </em>Fight the urge to splurge or analyze your financial situation constantly by reminding yourself that unlike your ancestors, you will probably have a long future to plan for.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Keeping on top of financial needs every single minute of your day will let your lizard brain take control you and make you react emotionally. Set specific dates for review (e.g. every quarter, semester, or year) of your finances and take corrective action after careful analysis. Then, move on.</p> <h2>2. Extrapolation</h2> <p>We are creatures of habit. We all have a favorite movie that we could just watch over and over, or a brand of coffee that we can't imagine living without.</p> <p>The challenge with having favorites is that we tend to assume that the same conditions that once made them them our favorites still apply. This is called extrapolating. When you extrapolate your spending patterns without thinking, you ignore how much money you could be saving.</p> <p>Take, for example, a daily $5 cup of coffee. Let's assume that you picked up that habit on your first job. You were young, didn't have a coffee maker, and you would enjoy it everyday on the bus to work. Now that you're 10 years older, own a home with your spouse, and drive to work, should you still be buying that $5 cup every day? Well, if you were to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee">stop spending $5 a day</a> and put those funds in an investment with an 8% annual return, you would have a cool $28,553.01 by the end of 10 years.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Don't just do things for the sake of doing them. Take a look at your daily and weekly rituals and find cheaper alternatives. Then, commit to put those savings in your retirement or savings account. Already doing that? Start or strengthen your emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking?ref=seealso">Here's How Rich You'd Be If You Stopped Drinking</a>)</p> <h2>3. Confirmation Bias</h2> <p>&quot;There is no worse blind man than the one who doesn't want to see,&quot; goes a popular saying.</p> <p>When you're unwilling to seek out information that challenges your beliefs, you're a victim of confirmation bias. This psychological phenomenon makes you pay attention only to the studies, news, and facts that reinforce your preconceived notions.</p> <p>By falling victim of your own reality distortion field, you can waste a lot of money by making suboptimal choices. Let's assume that you really like Mac laptops and you're looking to buy a new computer. Here's how confirmation bias would work against you:</p> <ul> <li>The only research that you do is to read sites focused only on Mac computers. You ignore sites that cover a wide variety of laptop models, such as Consumer Reports.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You only visit an Apple retail store because you subconsciously favor information that confirms what you already believe.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You go out of your way to attack any data or evidence that proves that you could get an exact product that performs just as good (or better) at a cheaper price from another brand.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When asked about the main reason behind buying Apple, you can only answer &quot;I like it&quot; or repeat an ad or catchphrase from an Apple clerk.</li> </ul> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Don't make purchase decisions based on a hunch or first result from a Google search. Be open to checking unbiased information from multiple sources, and be ready to dismiss an idea if the data proves you wrong.</p> <h2>4. Carpe Diem</h2> <p>A day doesn't go by that I don't see somebody quoting &quot;carpe diem&quot; on my Instagram or Facebook feeds.</p> <p>While the most common interpretation of carpe diem is &quot;seize the day,&quot; the official definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the &quot;enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.&quot; Or in fewer words, immediate gratification. Given the choice of enjoying $300 right now or receiving $5,000 in six years, most of us would take the $300.</p> <p>However, our parents were right in teaching us self-restraint. Data from over four decades of experiments has shown that a child's ability to delay gratification is critical for a successful life. Best known as the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316230871/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0316230871&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HEDJQXVKUTU63TZF">The Marshmallow Test</a>, the experiment from psychologist Walter Mischel explains how self-control makes you better prepared to tackle any challenge, including financial ones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <p>One of the most successful investors of all time, Warren Buffett, is a major advocate of learning self-restraint. &quot;Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago,&quot; he wrote in a past letter to his company shareholders.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Studies have shown that the most efficient way to learn or teach delaying gratification to achieve later, greater rewards is to provide reliable experiences. For example, if you promise yourself that you won't use your credit cards for three years to pay down debt and that at the end of those three years you will take a small trip to Las Vegas to celebrate, then take the Vegas trip if you're successful.</p> <p>Not keeping your own word will make you say &quot;I didn't get anything in the end anyways&quot; the next time you're trying to reach a financial milestone, and make you abandon your goals. Deliver on your promise to yourself or others.</p> <p><em>What other psychological traps are slowing down or eating away at your savings?</em></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/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">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-4"> <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-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget</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/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</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-allocate-your-cash-when-you-are-broke">How to Allocate Your Cash When You Are Broke</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/how-to-live-on-12-000-a-year">How to live on $12,000 a year</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/recession-journal-part-i-fast-money-in-the-09">Recession Journal Part I: &#039;Fast&#039; Money in the &#039;09</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management psychological traps saving money spending Tue, 09 Jun 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1448411 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Paying Off Student Loans Early Can Boost Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-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/money_college_graduate_000020191808.jpg" alt="College grad learning how to pay off student loans early" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you just graduated from college and have a fancy new degree and tens of thousands of dollars in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">student loans</a>. Welcome to the club!</p> <p>Those loans could be an albatross around your neck for years, but there are many reasons to work hard to pay them off early. For starters, the long-run cost-savings could be huge, and it will become easier to save for the future. And your overall financial picture can improve immensely by eliminating that debt as soon as you can. Here's why.</p> <h2>1. You'll Save Big Bucks in Interest</h2> <p>Paying loans off early may require you to pay more now, but the overall amount you will pay will decrease because you'll save on interest payments. If you're paying 4.5% interest on a $10,000 student loan over five years, you're on the hook for as much as $37 in interest per month before you even make a dent in the principal. Over time, interest can add up to thousands of dollars that most people would love to have back in their bank accounts.</p> <h2>2. It's Easier to Begin Investing for the Future</h2> <p>There is an argument to be made that it's okay to invest money even when you have student loans, as long as the return on investment is higher than the interest rate on the loan. There's validity to this, but for many people it's not easy to invest <em>and </em>pay down debt at the same time. So, if you're finding that it's hard to do both, focus on paying down the debt. Freeing yourself from student loans means you can start to save for retirement and other long-term goals. The earlier you start investing, the better, so get rid of those loans now, if you can.</p> <h2>3. It May Become Easier to Get a Mortgage</h2> <p>When lenders examine your finances to see if you're worthy of a loan, they look at the price of the home and your income, but they also examine your overall debt-to-income ratio. This is often referred to as your &quot;back-end ratio.&quot; Generally speaking, if your <a href="http://www.fha.com/fha_requirements_debt">debt-to-income ratio</a> with expenses is higher than 40%, you may find it harder to get a loan. If you can pay off your student loans early, lenders may be more kind, because your ratio will be lower. Moreover, if you are free from student loan debt, you may find it easier to make a larger down payment on the house you choose to buy. In turn, this could result in lower monthly payments and you might also avoid any requirements to buy mortgage insurance.</p> <h2>4. Your Last-Ditch Option Becomes a Better One</h2> <p>If there's one thing that's worse than declaring bankruptcy, it's declaring bankruptcy when you have student loans. That's because while debt from credit cards, auto, or home loans can be discharged in bankruptcy, student loans usually can't. Student loans can continue to haunt you even when you've done your best to wipe your slate clean. If you can find a way to pay off the loans, at least you'll have a better chance of truly starting over financially if disaster later strikes.</p> <h2>5. You Can Take the Long View With Your Career</h2> <p>When I was a senior in college, I accepted an unpaid internship at an organization that eventually led to a full-time job. Fortunately, I had no student loans to contend with &mdash; there's no way I could have accepted work for no pay. If you're debt-free, it might mean that you can afford to enter internship or apprenticeship programs. You can accept entry-level positions that offer the promise of growth within a company. This may seem counterintuitive, but a lack of debt can give you financial freedom to choose the career path you really want. And that can pay off in the long term.</p> <h2>6. You Can Be More Entrepreneurial</h2> <p>Small businesses often get started when founders invest their own personal money. It's hard to do that when you're paying off big loans. A study from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 concluded that the rate of student debt in America was having an <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2417676">impact on formation of businesses</a> with one to four employees. Perhaps it's time to unload your student debt and launch that potentially lucrative enterprise.</p> <h2>7. Your Mental Health Will Improve</h2> <p>A study from researchers at the University of South Carolina found that of more than 4,000 people born between 1980 and 1984, those with higher student loans, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/the-mental-and-physical-toll-of-student-loans/385032/">had poorer mental health</a>. And while the researchers did not examine the impact on earnings, there's plenty of research suggesting that feelings of depression and anxiety can <a href="http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20030617/depression-affects-work-productivity">impact job performance</a>, and in turn, income.</p> <p><em>Are you paying off your student loans early? Tell us how &mdash; and why &mdash; in the comments below.</em></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-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-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-5"> <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/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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/stop-is-that-loan-too-big-for-your-wallet">Stop! Is That Loan Too Big For Your Wallet?</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/6-times-when-its-okay-to-take-a-loan">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Take a Loan</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/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</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/5-loan-options-for-those-with-good-credit">5 Loan Options for Those With Good Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management borrowing college education loans student loans Wed, 27 May 2015 17:01:23 +0000 Tim Lemke 1431226 at http://www.wisebread.com Debt Management Resources http://www.wisebread.com/debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-iStock_000026101069_Small.jpg" alt="woman looking at paperwork" title="woman looking at paperwork" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Debt becomes a slippery slope &mdash; and a downward spiral &mdash; if you don't know how to manage it well. Learn how to live alongside debt without accumulating more of it, what steps you can take to eliminate debt, and important information on the kinds of professional help that's available for people in debt. Use the links below to jump ahead to any section.</p> <ul> <li><a href="#living">Living with Debt</a></li> <li><a href="#eliminate">Steps to Eliminate Debt</a></li> <li><a href="#professional">Getting Professional Help</a></li> </ul> <p><a name="living"></a></p> <h2>Living with Debt</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/acknowledge-you-have-a-problem-with-debt"><strong>Acknowledge You Have a Problem with Debt</strong></a><br /> There is a reason why nearly every &quot;recovery&quot; program has the exact same first step. The wording may vary slightly, but the underlying message is consistent: acknowledge the problem.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt-free-living-is-attainable-if-you-want-it-you-can-have-it"><strong>Debt-Free Living IS Attainable: If You Want It, You Can Have It</strong></a><br /> We need to recognize that living a debt-free life is actually within our grasp.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-grip-on-your-debt-how-to-obtain-a-clear-concise-financial-snapshot"><strong>Get a Grip on Your Debt: How to Obtain a Clear, Concise Financial Snapshot</strong></a><br /> Before we can know where we are going, it helps to know where we currently are. We want to examine our current situation, stop the bleeding, and keep our focus on moving forward and on the new habits we will be installing (not the old ones that led to our problems).</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/funding-your-401k-when-youre-in-debt"><strong>Funding Your 401(k) When You're in Debt</strong></a><br /> If there are two pieces of financial advice that get hammered more often than any others, they're &quot;Get out of debt&quot; and &quot;Put enough in your 401(k) to get any corporate match.&quot; With times getting tough, how do you balance those two choices?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/contributing-to-a-roth-versus-paying-down-debt"><strong>Contributing to a Roth Versus Paying Down Debt</strong></a><br /> Usually it makes more sense to just get the debt paid off, but the Roth is a special case because of the tax advantages and the very long time-scale. Wise Bread blogger Philip Brewer walks through his approach to this problem.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tallying-the-true-cost-of-debt">Tallying the True Cost of Debt</a></strong><br /> On the human side, the consequences of debt are never isolated. As hard as we try to compartmentalize our problems, the lines often become blurred.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-debt-fools-people">How Debt Fools People</a></strong><br /> The reason debt fools people is that even when the cost of the debt is perfectly reasonable, the lost flexibility means any little problem can kick off a debt spiral.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/worried-about-debt-tips-on-managing-your-loans"><strong>Worried About Debt? Tips on Managing Your Loans</strong></a><br /> If you've got a lot of loans under your belt, you'll want to make sure to manage them well, or risk wrecking your credit by making a late payment somewhere. Here are a few tip to keep your debt under control and ways to speed up the process of reducing your debt load.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-collection-agencies">How to Deal with Collection Agencies</a></strong><br /> Regain your power as a consumer from the collection agencies.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-nasty-debt-collectors"><strong>Dealing with Nasty Debt Collectors</strong></a><br /> You may (or may not) be delinquent with a debt payment, but debt collectors don't have carte blanche with regards to how they can hustle the money from you. They can only go so far, and it pays to know your rights.</p> <p><a name="eliminate"></a></p> <h2>Steps to Eliminate Debt</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly"><strong>6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</strong></a><br /> If you have a number of different debt, you might be wondering where to start paying them off. Here's a smart strategy that will get you going.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance"><strong>5 Strategies To Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance</strong></a><br /> So you're ready to stop using your credit card(s) recklessly, but what to do about a balance that has been piling up every month? Here are 5 strategies to help you reduce the debt on your cards <i>and </i>maintain a monthly balance that works for you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt"><strong>When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</strong></a><br /> You have $X in savings but $Y in credit card debt &mdash; should you use the savings to pay down the debt? The answer, of course, depends on your situation. Here's how to do the analysis.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what"><strong>Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY&nbsp;The Minimum On Credit Cards</strong></a><br /> Current economic times call for drastic measures, and Suze Orman has changed her stance on paying off all credit card balances as the very first money management advice.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-of-debt-first-then-focus-on-saving"><strong>Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on Saving</strong></a><br /> When you're in debt, it's nearly impossible to save money. Here are some tips for getting out of debt so you can save or invest the money you're currently using to make your debt repayments.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goal-setting-getting-out-of-debt-once-and-for-all"><strong>Goal Setting: Getting Out of Debt Once and For All</strong></a><br /> Getting out of debt is easier said than done, so start off on the right foot by setting the <i>right</i> kind of goal.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-its-time-to-destroy-debt-start-with-a-goal"><strong>When It's Time to Destroy Debt, Start With a Goal</strong></a><br /> If you have a vague idea of a destination &mdash; like living debt-free &mdash; but you're not really sure how to get there or how long the trip will take, it could be because you don't know what your specific goals are.</p> <p><a name="professional"></a></p> <h2>Getting Professional Help</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-debt-credit-counselors"><strong>Dealing With Debt: Credit Counselors</strong></a><br /> Hiring a credit counseling counselor is a great way to get help with debts. There's no shortage of them out there, and many will help you for free. But look before you leap.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-counseling-when-you-need-it-and-when-you-dont"><strong>Credit Counseling: When You Need It and When You Don't</strong></a><br /> Is it time to see a credit counselor about your debt? If it is, find out how to find and what to ask to get the most out of it.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solving-a-debt-dilemma-with-debt-settlement"><strong>Solving a Debt Dilemma with Debt Settlement</strong></a><br /> Debt settlement companies are advertising a lot these days on TV, radio and online. If you're in a jam, they might sound tempting. Should you bite?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-know-when-it-s-time-for-bankruptcy"><strong>How You Know When It's Time For Bankruptcy</strong></a><br /> Bankruptcy is the ultimate debt destroyer, because rather than paying it back, you're often wiping it out, or at least partially so. When is bankruptcy the right choice? Ultimately, you file bankruptcy because there's no other way out.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt/bankruptcy">How to File for Bankruptcy</a></strong><br /> Bankruptcy is the last resort to dealing with debt: when a person finds himself in so much debt that paying it off simply isn't an option, bankruptcy can be the only way to handle the situation.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-after-bankruptcy-whats-next">Life After Bankruptcy: What's Next?</a></strong><br /> Whether you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, there are repercussions to going through this process. However, like with other setbacks in life, you can recover.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt">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-6"> <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/runaway-debt-can-you-ever-pay-it-back">Runaway Debt, Can You Ever Pay It Back?</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/debt-free-living-is-attainable-if-you-want-it-you-can-have-it">Debt-Free Living IS Attainable: If You Want It, You Can Have It</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-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer 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/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</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-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management pay off debt Fri, 22 May 2015 22:55:19 +0000 Amy Lu 1433872 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Help Protect Your Financial Future From Unexpected Medical Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/injured-woman-605.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In life, anything can happen. Injuries and illnesses cannot always be prevented. But there are things you can do now to help protect your financial future from unexpected medical expenses, and keep yourself happy and healthy in the process.</p> <h2>1. Start a Medical Emergency Fund</h2> <p>The time to set money aside for just-in-case scenarios is now. You never know what can happen and having savings set aside will give you comfort and peace of mind. Surprisingly, very few Americans save enough money for emergencies, unexpected job loss or long-term disability. Of the people ages 18 to 29 that <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/StreetTalk/Bankrate-saving-5income/2015/03/30/id/635308/">Bankrate.com recently surveyed</a>, nearly half said they save 5% or less. Nearly one in five don't save anything at all. In a Cigna&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/weathering-unforeseen-financial-storms">survey</a>, individuals were asked how long their finances would last without a paycheck. 59% said they would exhaust their resources in 12 weeks or less. Almost a third (29%) said their finances would only last a month or less.</p> <h2>2. Keep That Emergency Fund for Emergencies Only</h2> <p>Okay, so you've created a cushion in your bank account. That's great! Almost as difficult as creating an emergency fund is keeping the money until you absolutely need it. Do not dip into it for frivolous purchases.</p> <p>Think about what might happen if you come down with a serious illness or an injury. You need enough money in that account to cover your living expenses while you heal and recover, especially if you're unable to work.</p> <h2>3. Consider Disability Benefits</h2> <p>You might think this is an expense you can't afford, but protecting your income when you are sick or hurt and cannot work can be <a href="http://www.disabilitycanhappen.org/diam/CDA_Infographic.pdf">worth the cost</a>. According to the National Safety Council, one in eight Americans seek medical treatment for an accidental injury each year.<sup><a href="#i">[i]</a></sup> And one in four twenty-somethings will become disabled before they retire.<sup><a href="#ii">[ii]</a></sup>&nbsp;These numbers are quite sobering. The median American salary is $53,000,<sup><a href="#iii">[iii]</a></sup>&nbsp;and a disability plan would typically cover 50%-60% of that income. And, don&rsquo;t forget to look for value-added benefits available with many disability plans such as discounts on memberships to a local gym.</p> <h2>4. Understand Your Body's Signals</h2> <p>It's crucial to pay attention to how your body feels and reacts to things. You are the only person who can tell if something is off and when that's the case, call your doctor. Catching something in the early stages can save your life, and your budget. Some health plans offer access to telemedicine services. These services allow you to connect with a doctor remotely at any time of day. Emergency room visits can also cost a lot out of pocket, even with medical coverage. Before you get sick, scout out urgent care offices near you and save yourself a surprise medical expense later on. Of course, if you&rsquo;re in a serious medical situation, don&rsquo;t hesitate to call for an ambulance.</p> <h2>5. Lose the &quot;I'm Invincible&quot; Mentality</h2> <p>Just because you're young doesn't mean you're immune to health problems. A happy, successful future starts with taking care of yourself now. According to <a href="http://www.cigna.com/KnowYourBenefits">a recent study</a>, sacrificing care for other household needs (food, rent, etc.) is especially prevalent among younger consumers. One-third of younger consumers make these types of tradeoff decisions occasionally, while one in four make them at least once per month. Anything can happen, so make your health a priority. Poor health can be more difficult to fix as you get older.</p> <h2>6. Learn More About Preventive Medicine</h2> <p>When it comes to overall health, there are always improvements to be made. And even if you've been diagnosed with a certain condition or disease, there are things you can do to keep your health from worsening. The key is to educate yourself. Talk to your doctor about proactive ways you can improve your health. Check out available resources, professional organizations and support groups through your health plan carrier or in your community. Don't be afraid to reach out. Each group has a vested interest is helping you with your health.</p> <h2>7. Live a Healthier Lifestyle</h2> <p>Good health and bad health are cyclical. A <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">2014 health study</a> indicated that those in very good to excellent health tend to focus on exercise. Those in fair or poor health are more likely to establish bad habits like smoking. Bad habits cost more because they are gateways to other conditions. For example, obesity can lead to back and knee problems and even diabetes. So if you're obese or overweight, losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising consistently will help you stay on a healthy track. Staying healthy makes you happier now and in the future, and can help you keep more money in your wallet.</p> <p><i>What steps have you taken to prevent a life altering illness or injury from harming your financial future?</i></p> <p><i>This article is sponsored by Cigna. Visit <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">Cigna.com</a> for more great information on the <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">link between health and financial security</a>. This article is for educational purposes only and is intended to promote consumer health. It is not intended as financial or medical advice and you should always consult a professional for financial or medical advice.&nbsp;</i></p> <p><sup><a name="i"></a>[i]</sup> National Safety Council, Industry Facts Summary, 2011.<br /> <sup><a name="ii"></a>[ii]&nbsp;</sup>U.S. Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet February 7, 2013.<br /> <sup><a name="iii"></a>[iii]</sup> Household Income: American Community Survey Briefs; United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commercial, Economics and Statistics Administrations; September 2014.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses">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-7"> <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-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</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-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-smoking">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Smoking</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/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</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/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Health and Beauty Cigna disability health care medical expenses Fri, 22 May 2015 18:15:12 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1432682 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Your Personality Sabotaging Your Saving? http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-personality-sabotaging-your-saving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-your-personality-sabotaging-your-saving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nervous_guy_000034996236.jpg" alt="Man with personality type that sabotages savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say it takes all types &mdash; but some types have a harder time <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">saving</a> than others. Are you allowing some of your less flattering character traits to derail your finances? Here are four personality types that sabotage saving.</p> <h2>1. The Insecure</h2> <p>In a consumer economy, advertisers work tirelessly to link products to personality. Do you drive a domestic car, or an import? Are the countertops in your home Formica or granite? Are you a Mac person or a PC person? Often, the answers don't simply explain what we prefer &mdash; they suggest who we are, or at least who we'd like to be.</p> <p>Playing upon consumers' insecurities works like a charm. Ego sells lots of products and keeps huge swaths of the population on a treadmill of debt. Fight back by getting comfortable in your own skin and learning little ways to feel more confident every day.</p> <h2>2. The Impulsive</h2> <p>Let's admit it: we live in a consumer-centered universe. Every screen we gaze into promises to deliver more delights to our doorstep (with free shipping and cashback rewards, of course). There are entire armies of designers, marketers, and retailers whose sole purpose is to anticipate what will tickle us next and magically make our wallets fall open.</p> <p>In a consumer Candyland like ours, those who haven't learned how to overcome impulse spending don't have a chance. Without a dependable restraint system, they're sure to wander toward the Gumdrop Mountains, fall into the Molasses Swamp, and never be heard from again.</p> <h2>3. The Impatient</h2> <p>Just one word separates a saver from a spender. A saver says, &quot;I need it.&quot; A spender says, &quot;I need it <em>now</em>.&quot; Purging that one pesky word from our consumer vocabulary can save us thousands of dollars over a lifetime. &quot;Now&quot; eliminates the option of shopping around for the best deal, it means we don't have to plan and save, and it means we'll think about the consequences to our budget later. If you're trying to spend wisely, stop being impatient and start thinking of &quot;now&quot; as a hair-curling, four-letter word.</p> <h2>4. The Fearful</h2> <p>Spending wisely and saving for the future takes a bit of fortitude. To make real progress, we have to know who we are deep down, learn how to conquer fear, and take a few chances. Those who are afraid of money likely don't understand it, or grew up in households where money was a constant source of anxiety. They might be able to pinch a few pennies, but profound success will always be elusive. The fearful wouldn't dream of negotiating on price, they don't feel comfortable making independent investment decisions, and they're afraid to spend when presented with real wealth-building opportunities.</p> <p>Saving money over the long term is no different than achieving any other goal. We have to duck and weave around our own insecurities and impulses and surround ourselves with like-minded people who can cheer us on and serve as role models for success. If you find yourself struggling, it might be time to take a hard look at the company you keep.</p> <p><em>Is there someone in your life who's sabotaging your saving success or their own?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-personality-sabotaging-your-saving">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-8"> <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-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</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-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</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-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-suze-orman">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Suze Orman</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-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</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/10-lies-rich-people-never-tell-themselves">10 Lies Rich People Never Tell Themselves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Personal Development money personality savings self sabotage Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1424390 at http://www.wisebread.com High Credit Limit and Low APR: UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/high-credit-limit-and-low-apr-unity-visa-secured-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/high-credit-limit-and-low-apr-unity-visa-secured-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_000025461089.jpg" alt="Woman shopping online with credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although not as well known as other banks, OneUnited Bank out of Boston, Massachusetts, provides a number of consumer and business financial products. In 1999, OneUnited Bank became the first African-American owned bank in the country and focuses on providing loans, bank accounts, and credit cards to diverse and urban communities across the country.</p> <p>The <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22986012&amp;fot=1214&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">UNITY&reg; Visa Secured Credit Card</a> includes an opportunity to build or rebuild credit if you happen to have less than perfect credit, by reporting your account activity to the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. While many features are standard for secured cards, the Unity Visa does offer a few that you won't find offered by others. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards">Best Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit</a>)</p> <h2>Some Card Highlights:</h2> <ul> <li>Introductory APR of 9.95% for six months on balance transfers.</li> <li>Low fixed APR of 17.99% through card expiration.</li> <li>High credit limit up to $10,000 depending on the amount of your deposit.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22986012&amp;fot=1214&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a></p> <h2>How This Card Works</h2> <p>The UNITY&reg; Visa Secured Card requires a deposit from $250 to $10,000. When your account is approved, you receive a credit card in the amount of your deposit. You can then, use your card as you would any credit card. Your payments and account activity are reported to the credit bureaus, which can help you establish or reestablish your credit rating through responsible card use. When you have paid your balance and closed the account, your security deposit is refunded.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <p>The annual fee is $39. The foreign transaction fee is 2%.</p> <p>The card offers an introductory APR of 9.95% for the first six months of the date your account is opened. The purchase APR and the balance transfer APR after the introductory period is 17.99% which is a fixed rate through expiration of the card. Cash advances are also a fixed rate of 17.99%, with a cash advance fee of $10 or 3%, whichever is greater.</p> <h3>Additional Card Fees</h3> <ul> <li>Customer service by phone: no fee</li> <li>Expedited card delivery: $35</li> <li>Credit limit increase: $10</li> <li>Stop payment: $25</li> <li>Payment assistance by phone: $1</li> </ul> <h2>Pros</h2> <p><strong>Introductory APR on Balance Transfers</strong>. The UNITY&reg; Visa Secured Card is one of the only, if not the only, secured card which offers an introductory APR on balance transfers. If you have a balance on a card with a higher APR than 9.95% and can pay it off within the first six months, you can save money in interest while paying down your balance. If the APR on the card you are transferring the balance from is higher than 17.99%, you have even more time to pay it down at a lower interest rate. Keep in mind, however, that there is a balance transfer fee of 3% or $10, whichever is the greatest.</p> <p><strong>Low Fixed APR</strong>. The APR of 17.99% is among the lowest APRs offered by secured cards, except for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-choice-bank-primor-secured-visa-gold-card-review">primor Secured Visa Gold Card</a> and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-choice-bank-primor-secured-visa-classic-card-review">primor Secured Visa Classic Card</a>. &nbsp;The benefit of having a fixed APR is knowing that your interest costs won't flutuate throughout your card membership. Additionally, UNITY's APR applies to cash advances, which is also among the lowest offered by secured cards, and is often as much as 23%. If there is a chance you will need a cash advance from your card, you should consider the fees involved as well as the interest you will be charged.</p> <p><strong>High credit limit of $10,000</strong>. Your credit limit is determined by the amount of your security deposit, and in this case can be as much as $10,000. The maximum on most secured cards is $5,000 which can be limiting if you need to make purchases with your card that exceed that maximum.</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p><strong>No interest on deposit</strong>. Although you are able to deposit and receive a credit limit as high as $10,000, you won't earn any interest on the deposit while it is being held. Cards such as the primor <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-choice-bank-primor-secured-visa-gold-card-review">Secured Visa Gold Card</a> and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/usaa-secured-card-american-express">USAA Secured Card American Express</a>&nbsp;hold your deposit in CDs or savings account so that when the deposit is returned to you, it has earned a little extra money.</p> <p><strong>Extra fees</strong>. There are extra fees for services such as payment assistance by phone and credit limit increases that are often included with secured credit cards.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Foreign transaction fee</strong>. If you travel outside of the U.S. frequently, you need a card for foreign purchases that does not incur a foreign transaction fee. This fee can be as much as 3% and is common on secured cards. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-secured-mastercard-credit-card-review">Capital One Secured MasterCard</a> is one of the only secured cards without a foreign transaction fee and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/usaa-secured-card-american-express">USAA secured cards</a> carry foreign transaction fees of 1%, which is slightly lower than that of the UNITY&reg; Visa Secured.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>No card benefits</strong>. There are no extra card benefits with this card, which isn't outlandish for secured cards. However, if you prefer card benefits such as travel insurance or extended warranties, you might instead choose a card which includes these benefits. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-secured-mastercard-credit-card-review">Capital One Secured MasterCard</a>, for example, includes many of the card benefits you would find on an unsecured credit card.</p> <h2>Who This Card Is Best For</h2> <p>The UNITY&reg; Visa Secured Credit Card is best for those who are building or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best">rebuilding credit</a> and who want to deposit more than most secured cards allow. Furthermore, if you have balances on higher APR credit cards, this card is a great option for transferring and paying down those balances because of the introductory APR offered on balance transfers and the relatively low, fixed APR, offered in general.</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22986012&amp;fot=1214&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the UNITY&reg; Visa Secured Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/high-credit-limit-and-low-apr-unity-visa-secured-credit-card">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-9"> <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/retire-your-credit-card-debt-with-citi-simplicity-card">Retire Your Credit Card Debt With Citi Simplicity® Card</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-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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-5-best-secured-credit-cards">The 5 Best Secured 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/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</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/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus">Chase Sapphire Preferred: Get The Most Value For Your Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management credit card review OneUnited Fri, 01 May 2015 07:26:44 +0000 Christina Majaski 1406706 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_saved_piggy_banks_000055929726.jpg" alt="Learning how to keep your spouse from overspending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spouses aren't always honest with each other when it comes to money. A study released earlier this year by CreditCards.com found that nearly one in five U.S. consumers have hidden purchases of $500 or more from their live-in partners or spouses. The same study found that nearly 7.2 million people have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner.</p> <p>It's no surprise, then, that partners often butt heads over spending decisions. One partner wants to save. The other likes to spend, and will spend enough each month to break the household budget, often hiding these purchases until they show up on next month's credit card statement.</p> <p>What if you are the financially responsible partner in a relationship? Is there anything you can do to stop your partner from blowing your household savings on video games, clothes, or expensive electronics?</p> <p>There might be. Changing a partner's bad spending habits requires plenty of work and even more communication. To start, check out these four tips for changing your partner's free-spending ways.</p> <h2>Set a Regular Money Meeting</h2> <p>Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute &mdash; a trade association serving investment professionals &mdash; says that couples need to be willing to talk about money. Unfortunately, too many couples never hold these financial talks.</p> <p>This isn't surprising: Money often scares couples. A survey released in early 2015 by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 47% of couples say that money disagreements are the most common <a href="https://www.nfcc.org/press/multimedia/news-releases/january-nfcc-survey-reveals-top-financial-relationship-stressors/">cause of stress</a> in their relationships.</p> <p>But not talking about money as a way to avoid these disagreements is a mistake. A partner who overspends needs to realize the consequences of this behavior. That can't happen if partners never talk about money. Stammers recommends that couples set a regular meeting date &mdash; maybe once a month &mdash; to talk about money issues.</p> <p>&quot;No two people have the same ideas and philosophy about money and investing, so it is important to determine upfront what is important to the both of you,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>Set Aside Some Fun Money</h2> <p>Creating a separate bank account for fun money might be a solution, says Kelley Long, resident financial planner for El Segundo, California's Financial Finesse, and a spokesperson for the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.</p> <p>This account will give the overspending partner a bit of financial freedom, and might prevent this spouse from breaking into a couple's main account set aside for paying the mortgage, car payment, and other bills, Long claims.</p> <p>&quot;This money can be spent without restriction or comment,&quot; Long says. &quot;When the money in the account is gone, the spender has to wait until the next payday to spend again.&quot;</p> <p>If the overspending partner raids other accounts after cleaning out the &quot;fun money&quot; account? Then a relationship has more serious trust issues that must be addressed, Long says.</p> <h2>Don't Let the Money Come Home</h2> <p>Michael Chadwick, chief executive officer of Unionville, Connecticut-based Chadwick Financial Advisors, has a more practical solution: Send more of the money you're earning into a retirement account and less of it into your savings account. Your overspending spouse can't spend the money you've stashed in a 401(k) account.</p> <h2>Let the Spender Take Control &mdash; For a Month</h2> <p>It may be counterintuitive, but it might help to have your free-spending partner pay the bills and manage the budget for at least a month. As Chadwick says, this might provide your partner with some insight into why wasting money on unnecessary purchases is such a problem.</p> <p>If none of these tips work? Your overspending partner might have a more serious issue, one that perhaps only counseling can solve, Chadwick says. &quot;Spending and shopping when out of control are no different than smoking, drugs, or alcohol.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you and your spouse or partner manage money?</em></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/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">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-10"> <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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</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/10-financial-perks-of-marriage">10 Financial Perks of Marriage</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/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking">10 Relationship Rules You Should Be Breaking</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/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt">Say No! 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn&#039;t Get Married if You&#039;re in Debt</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-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">Here&#039;s How Delaying Marriage or Kids Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Family couples finances marriage Spending Money Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1399139 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things People Without Debt Do http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-people-without-debt-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-people-without-debt-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_on_roadtrip_000038793128.jpg" alt="Woman without debt on vacation spending cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a world where car payments, credit card bills, and other forms of consumer debt are just assumed to be facts of life &mdash; as inevitable as death, taxes, or Kanye West interrupting a music awards show. Anyone lucky or disciplined enough to buck the trend gets little exposure in media. How they did it &mdash; and the benefits they enjoy &mdash; go largely undiscussed. Maybe it's time to explore the lifestyles of the debt-free. Here are 10 things people without debt do.</p> <h2>1. They Wait</h2> <p>When it comes to spending money, patience really is a virtue. Debt-free people achieve their rare status by keeping their needs in check and carefully considering their wants. Then, they save their money, wait for great deals, and shop around for amazing second-hand bargains.</p> <h2>2. They Keep Their Egos in Check</h2> <p>Fat egos usually mean skinny wallets. Credit-fueled conspicuous consumption keeps more households in the red than mortgages and college loans combined. Those who are debt-free try to keep their egos separate from the material stuff they own and rest comfortably in the knowledge that true luxury is freedom from debt servitude.</p> <h2>3. They Spend (When the Deal Is Right)</h2> <p>Our frugal friends and neighbors get a bad rap. They're usually dubbed &quot;tightwads&quot; and quickly dismissed as a fringe group out of touch with reality. But they're not afraid to spend; they're simply selective about what and when they buy.</p> <h2>4. They Pay Cash</h2> <p>People who are debt-free know why <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-why-cash-is-still-king">cash is still king</a>: When you spend it you <em>feel</em> it; it's impossible to spend more cash than you actually have; and when you're negotiating on price, the green stuff gets attention.</p> <h2>5. They Negotiate</h2> <p>And while we're on the topic of negotiating, let's get something straight: The price of almost everything is negotiable. The debt-free realize this. They've learned the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">rules of negotiation</a> and haggle on the price of everything from cars to cable TV. After all, paying retail and being debt-free don't mix.</p> <h2>6. They Get Great Interest Rates</h2> <p>When the debt-free choose to take on debt strategically, they tend to benefit from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">lower interest rates</a>. Thanks to a history of responsible credit use, low balance-to-limit ratios, and a modest debt-to-income ratio, they have strong FICO scores.</p> <h2>7. They Avoid Incremental Expenses</h2> <p>If you haven't noticed, marketers are getting more reluctant to share actual prices with consumers. Instead, they frame big expenses in more palatable monthly terms. You can get in that $29,000 new car for only $203 a month; that new cell phone will cost you a mere $18 a month &mdash; you get the idea. But, debt-free folks know that big expenses lurk behind those tiny payments, and they understand how dozens of small cuts can quickly bleed a budget.</p> <h2>8. They Expect the Unexpected</h2> <p>I'll be the first to admit: I'm not an optimist. When it comes to the economy, my work, and the prices of things in relation to income growth, I'm a Debbie Doubter, if not a full-blown Debbie Downer. And I'm in good company. The debt-free have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-plan-better-than-an-emergency-fund">financial emergency plan</a> and even in the boom times, buckle up for the bust.</p> <h2>9. They Sleep Well</h2> <p>But far from a sense of powerlessness, keeping a low financial profile, being prepared for emergencies, and saving for the future builds a deep sense of security. When the debt-free drift off to sleep, they're not worried about credit card balance shuffling, how to delay payments to the very last second, or if their car might get repossessed in the dark of night. They sleep well knowing that no one has a claim on what they earn tomorrow.</p> <h2>10. They Enjoy More Freedom</h2> <p>High levels of long-term consumer debt limit our choices in life. If a dozen creditors can each take a slice of your income, there's less left for you. That means less choice about what you'll be doing next week or next year (hint: you'll be working). But others know the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-freedom-of-a-debt-free-life">freedom of a debt-free life</a>. They try to keep as much of their income as possible and invest in things that generate wealth, expand their opportunities, and ultimately reduce the number of years they'll have to work.</p> <p>It's important to remember that everyone's financial situation is different and sometimes debt is simply unavoidable. But a debt-free lifestyle doesn't have to be the stuff of legend either. Real people can reap real rewards when they consciously decide to control how they spend, what they spend on, and how vigorously they attack even the smallest debt.</p> <p><em>Are you debt-free or well on your way? How does it help you live differently from your friends, family, or co-workers?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-people-without-debt-do">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-11"> <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-erase-your-medical-debt">How to Erase Your Medical 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/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</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/6-false-assumptions-about-debt-free-living">6 False Assumptions About Debt-Free Living</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/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads">Working on the Road: A Book Review for Professional Nomads</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/10-lies-rich-people-never-tell-themselves">10 Lies Rich People Never Tell Themselves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management bills debt-free expenses lifestyle owing money spending Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1397818 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_grads_000037875416.jpg" alt="New graduates considering ways to get student loan debt forgiveness" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The cost of higher education keeps climbing. Since 2004-2005, <a href="http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-net-price-time-full-time-students-public-four-year-institutions">average college tuition</a> in the U.S. has grown by over 35% to a total of $9,500 in the 2014-2015 school year. While there are many opportunities to receive grants, scholarships, and relatively affordable loans to finance a college education, there are also a number of loan forgiveness programs that can help to erase debt after you've graduated. Here are some of the best loan forgiveness options available.</p> <h2>1. Teachers</h2> <p>Many areas of the country need high quality teachers, particularly schools with students who fall into low income brackets. If you teach at one of these schools or at educational service agencies for five consecutive years, you may be eligible for up to $17,500 worth of complete <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher">forgiveness on Federal Stafford Loans</a>. PLUS loans are not eligible for forgiveness under this program.</p> <h2>2. Educators</h2> <p>While the forgiveness of Federal Stafford Loans is limited to teachers, the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts?_ga=1.108876742.595209384.1427678197#perkins-loan-cancellation">forgiveness of Federal Perkins Loans</a> is more expansive, and broadly includes educators. Perkins Loans can be 100% forgiven if you elect to become a school librarian, an employee at a child or family-centered agency, a staff member at a Head Start program, pre-kindergarten, or childcare program, or a school speech pathologist, special education teacher, or full-time teacher. Most of these programs require you to work in a low-income school, remain a teacher for a certain number of years, and some also carry specific education requirements, such as a master's degree.</p> <h2>3. Armed Forces</h2> <p>If you are considering joining the military, there are loan forgiveness opportunities for you. Should you serve in a hostile fire or imminent danger area, you may be eligible for forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans. If your active service ended on or before August 14, 2008, you can receive up to 50% loan forgiveness. If your service began after or includes August 14, 2008, you may receive up to 100% loan forgiveness.</p> <h2>4. Firefighters or Law Enforcement Officers</h2> <p>Should you feel called to protect your city by becoming a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or corrections officer, you may be able to receive up to 100% forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans.</p> <h2>5. Nurses or Medical Technicians</h2> <p>Nurses and medical technicians across the country are in short supply. In less than 10 years, the nursing field is expected to <a href="http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage">increase job openings</a> by 19%. Full-time nurses and medical technicians can be awarded up to 100% loan forgiveness of their Federal Perkins Loans.</p> <h2>6. AmeriCorps VISTA or Peace Corps Volunteers</h2> <p>Many young college graduates feel a compelling call to serve in a volunteer capacity in the U.S. or overseas. If you fall into that category, there are two programs that would help you to gain up to 70% loan forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans: <a href="http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-vista">AmeriCorps VISTA</a> is a volunteer program for students who want to serve in vulnerable areas in the U.S. The <a href="http://www.peacecorps.gov/">Peace Corps</a> is a storied program that pairs American volunteers with sites abroad in developing nations.</p> <h2>7. Early Intervention Services of the Disabled</h2> <p>There are many nonprofit and government organizations that seek to provide critical and early intervention services for the disabled. If you work for one of these organizations, you may be eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness on your Federal Perkins Loans.</p> <h2>8. Full-Time Faculty at a Tribal College or University</h2> <p>The U.S. Department of Education has designated certain colleges and universities as <a href="http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/whiaiane/tribes-tcus/tribal-colleges-and-universities/">tribal colleges</a>. This means that these colleges and universities are primarily focused on educating U.S. citizens who are American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Full-time faculty members at these schools can receive up to 100% forgiveness of Perkins Loans.</p> <p>Receiving a college education today is now an expensive proposition for just about everyone. Luckily, these loan forgiveness programs provide options to finance your education while also helping you to make a meaningful and lasting impact in a community that needs your skills and talents.</p> <p><em>Have you participated in one of these loan forgiveness programs? If so, please share your experience in the comments section. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">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-12"> <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-ways-paying-off-student-loans-early-can-boost-your-finances">7 Ways Paying Off Student Loans Early Can Boost Your Finances</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/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</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/share-your-thoughts-consolidating-student-loans">Share Your Thoughts: Consolidating Student Loans</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/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You 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/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training college education federal perkins loans federal stafford loans loan forgiveness student loans Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Christa Avampato 1390886 at http://www.wisebread.com Back in Debt? Here's How to Pay it Off for Good http://www.wisebread.com/back-in-debt-heres-how-to-pay-it-off-for-good <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/back-in-debt-heres-how-to-pay-it-off-for-good" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_doing_taxes_000020148166.jpg" alt="Couple back in debt and learning how to pay it off" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding yourself back in debt after having paid it off before is a horrible feeling. I know, because I've been there. In 2012, I spent 14 months aggressively paying off <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carrie-smith/getting-out-of-debt-_b_1581507.html">$14,000 of consumer debt</a> and worked hard to become debt free for the first time in life.</p> <p>Then, in 2013 I decided to quit my job to pursue my own freelance business. This is when my financial situation became much more volatile and resulted in taking on a bit of business debt to keep things going. So when I say that it's a horrible feeling to be debt free only to find yourself back in debt, I mean it. It's not fun!</p> <p>If you find yourself in a similar place, here's the strategy I'm using to pay it off again &mdash; and keep myself out of debt <em>for good</em>.</p> <h2>Identify the Problem</h2> <p>Before you can begin to pay off debt and get back on track, it's vital that you understand <em>why </em>and <em>how </em>you're back in the situation. Creating a permanently debt-free life is much more difficult than working towards becoming free of debt for the first time.</p> <p>The mindset and lifestyle changes are vastly different. This is something I miscalculated when I first got out of debt, as I obviously didn't change my mindset or spending habits sufficiently. I'd stopped using credit cards as part of my debt payoff plan, but after about a year I thought I could handle using them again. Wrong!</p> <p>I also thought that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1">investing in a new business</a> was a smart idea as it would pay off in the long run. That's all well and good, but you have to draw the line as <em>how much</em> you're going to invest in business ventures and <em>how often</em> you use credit cards as an extension of your income.</p> <p>The need to depend on personal loans or credit cards for additional cash flow proved that my new business wasn't bringing in enough income to survive on its own. Doing a thorough inventory of my spending habits to elucidate why I was back in debt again showed that I needed to not only change my mindset, but also find ways to bring in more money.</p> <h2>Try a New Plan of Action</h2> <p>Obviously, if you've gotten out of debt once you can do it again, but in order for this time to really stick, you have to change your approach and try something new. As Albert Einstein put it, &quot;Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.&quot; So don't expect to follow the same plan and have it work better this time.</p> <p>My mistake was that I viewed getting out of debt as the end goal. But getting out of debt is merely step one, and <em>staying out of debt</em> while changing your mindset and spending habits is a very long-term step two.</p> <p>My new plan of action includes:</p> <ul> <li>Finding ways to level out my inconsistent income<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bringing in multiple streams of income to have more of a cushion<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Stopping the use of credit cards and loans as an extension of income<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Working with an accountability partner to stay on track<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Living well below my means and doing monthly budget check-in<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Performing a cash budget challenge (or other spending challenge) on a quarterly basis</li> </ul> <h2>Decide How You Want to Live</h2> <p>There are two key parts to being debt free: staying out of debt, and living a life without using debt as a tool to get what you want. For me, that second part has been the most difficult. Your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">credit history and score</a> is basically determined by how much debt you leverage and pay off over time.</p> <p>So if you don't want to use debt to buy things, you will have to face that fact that it won't be easy. Most banks and lenders will not understand your reasoning for paying. And there will be instances where you simply cannot buy something without using debt, so you and your family will have to come to grips with this limitation.</p> <p>As long as you define a new set of priorities and have a renewed plan of attack, you'll be able to move forward and pay off debt for good. Take comfort in knowing that you don't have to stay here, and that since you've been debt free once, you can do it again. But now you'll have more experience and lessons to fall back on!</p> <p><em>Have you ever fallen back into debt? How did you climb back out again?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-in-debt-heres-how-to-pay-it-off-for-good">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-13"> <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/10-things-people-without-debt-do">10 Things People Without Debt Do</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/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending</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/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it">Account in Collections? Here&#039;s How to Fix It</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/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</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/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what">Oops — I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management credit history finances owing money paying back spending habits Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Carrie Smith 1386121 at http://www.wisebread.com Account in Collections? Here's How to Fix It http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_thinking_000019659642.jpg" alt="Man dealing with past due account in collections" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earlier this year, my husband received a letter stating that he had a debt in collections. We were warned that if we didn't send money soon, they'd start legal action.</p> <p>Naturally, our breathing quickened and our hearts nearly jumped out of our chests. But then I made us take deep breaths. With my background as an accountant, I knew we had options. Here's how to successfully deal with a past due account in collections.</p> <h2>Research the Creditor's Information</h2> <p>Don't stress or freak out when your receive that dreaded &quot;account in collections/payment due&quot; letter. The worst thing you can do is overreact and succumb to false information from scammers trying to get your credit information. This happens more often than you may realize.</p> <p>Before taking any action based on what the letter says, you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-collection-agencies">verify the information is correct</a>, and research the company contacting you. It's often hard to tell the difference between the legitimate letters and the fakes, as many will include bits of personal information and your account numbers. But don't let this sway you.</p> <p>A good place to start is with the <a href="http://www.bbb.org/bbb-locator/">Better Business Bureau</a>. Simply enter the company's name in the search box on their site. If the debt collector's name and information comes up in the BBB system, they're legit; but if it doesn't, you'll want to proceed with caution.</p> <p>Or consider investigating the legitimacy of a debt collections company by doing a quick online search. You'll often come across other people's stories or experiences with companies and can verify whether or not the information you've received is for real.</p> <p>Finally, consider checking your collections letter against an official account of any debts on your credit report. <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> is a website authorized by the federal government to give you access to your entire credit report, once a year, for free. By checking your report, you'll be able to verify whether the debt actually belongs to you, and if the right debt collection company's name is on the account.</p> <p>Make sure you save your credit report for later reference. If you notice errors, suspicious activity, or inaccuracies, you'll want to contact one of the three credit bureaus to get it solved.</p> <h2>Reach Out to the Credit Agency</h2> <p>If the debt agency's information is legit, and you've verified that you do indeed owe this amount, the next step is to contact the debt collection company directly. Call the number on the letter you received and start asking questions. Who did they purchase the debt from? What was the original balance? The balance on your statement is probably highly inflated because of late fees or other charges.</p> <p>They will likely push you into making a payment right then, but don't let them pressure you. Surprisingly, you have the upper hand in this situation because the debt collection agency paid pennies on the dollar for your debt. They will feel lucky to get any amount you're able to pay, so don't feel rushed.</p> <p>Ask them to send you this information in writing, so you can keep it for your records:</p> <ul> <li>The name of the original account holder,</li> <li>Your previous account number,</li> <li>The balance due now.</li> </ul> <p>Once you receive this information in the mail, you can negotiate a proper payment plan. You don't want this to go too long without being solved, but don't feel like you have to rush to make a payment. That's when you'll overpay. And remember that collections agencies will often accept less than the full amount owed, so don't necessarily agree to their first offer.</p> <h2>Report Them for Unethical or Illegal Behavior</h2> <p>As you go through this process, remember that you have all the control. Debt collection agencies tend to use less-than-stellar methods for getting consumers to make exorbitant payments towards outstanding debts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-annoying-things-bill-collectors-cant-do-and-how-to-stop-them?ref=seealso">4 Things Bill Collectors Can't Do</a>)</p> <p>If they start <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-nasty-debt-collectors">calling you nonstop</a>, verbally abusing you over the phone or with letters, or harassing family members, be sure to report them.</p> <p>If you need added protection, check out the <a href="http://www.acainternational.org/">American Collectors Agency</a>, or reach out to an attorney and a consumer-protection agency for help. You don't need to endure this process alone, and having an expert by your side will help alleviate the stress.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had to deal with a debt in collections? What other tips and tricks do you suggest?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it">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-14"> <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/surprising-things-that-can-kill-your-credit">Surprising Things That Can Kill Your Credit</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-deal-with-collection-agencies">How to Deal With Collection Agencies</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-erase-your-medical-debt">How to Erase Your Medical Debt</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/4-annoying-things-bill-collectors-cant-do-and-how-to-stop-them">4 Annoying Things Bill Collectors Can&#039;t Do -- And How to Stop Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Debt Management better business bureau collections agency credit agencies owing money past due Mon, 13 Apr 2015 09:00:03 +0000 Carrie Smith 1378041 at http://www.wisebread.com Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most? http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_student_000013097599.jpg" alt="Female college student thinking about paying student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education implemented a flexible solution to help borrowers with financial difficulty repay their federal student loan debt, also known as <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven">income-driven repayment plans</a>. These plans calibrate monthly payments based on the individual's income. Most applicants will qualify for at least one of the three types of repayment plans. However, selecting a plan type is entirely up to the borrower, which makes it critical to understand the differences before entering into a binding agreement.</p> <h2>PAYE vs. IBR</h2> <p>The two most popular repayment plans are Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Income-Based Repayment (IBR), because in most cases, the monthly payment will be lower than the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan. Under PAYE, borrowers make payments of 10% of their monthly income, and any remaining debt is forgiven after 20 years. Meanwhile, IBR sets payments at 15% of monthly income and forgives remaining debt after 25 years. During years when you're unemployed (or beneath the poverty threshold), your monthly payments are zero.</p> <p>Each plan determines your monthly payment based on your family's size and household income. To qualify, your adjusted payment amount must be less than it would be under the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/standard">standard repayment plan</a> based on a 10-year repayment period.</p> <p>So, given that PAYE seems like the more generous option, why would anyone choose IBR?</p> <p>Simple: The Pay As You Earn plan stipulates that only &quot;new borrowers&quot; qualify. You are considered a new borrower if your loans were disbursed on or after October 1, 2011, or if you had no outstanding loan balances on or after October 1, 2007.</p> <p>The Income-Contingent plan is also open to any borrower with federal loans. There is no income requirement. But, payments will be slightly higher than Pay As You Earn and IBR plans. In some cases (such as years in which you make a high income), your monthly payment could be higher than it would be under the standard repayment plan, because they are calculated based on your annual income.</p> <p>Their key differences are:</p> <ul> <li>Any borrower with eligible federal loans qualifies for the ICR plan.</li> <li>Monthly payments for Pay As You Earn and IBR plans are lower.</li> <li>Borrowers must meet additional requirements to qualify for Pay As You Earn.</li> </ul> <p>Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan?ref=seealso">The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn</a> has detailed information about the PAYE repayment option. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans?ref=seealso">What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-income-based-federal-student-loans-repayment-plan-can-you-benefit?ref=seealso">New Income Based Federal Student Loans Repayment Plan - Can You Benefit?</a> are also useful resources.</p> <h2>Federal Student Loan Forgiveness, Discharge, or Cancellation</h2> <p>We all know that student loan debt is one of the few types of debt that is rarely forgiven. It is excluded from bankruptcy filings and can be garnished from your wages if you default. However, there are several circumstances in which the federal government will grant borrowers <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation">forgiveness, discharge, or cancellation</a> of their federal student loans.</p> <p>Most borrowers who are interested in learning about the <a href="http://www.finaid.org/loans/forgiveness.phtml">loan forgiveness</a> program, whereby all or a portion of federal student loan debt is forgiven if you volunteer time, serve in the military or certain <a href="http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml">public service positions</a>, practice medicine, teach in low-income communities, or responsibly make payments for at least 20 or 25 years under one of the aforementioned income-driven repayment plans (and are still unable to repay the balance of your loans). Such circumstances include:</p> <ul> <li>Public interest loan forgiveness: Under IBR and PAYE, borrowers who make regular monthly payments and work in the non-profit or public sector for 10 years can have the balance of their student loans after that time forgiven.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Everyone else's loan balances are forgiven after 20 years of consecutive monthly payments under PAYE, and 25 under IBR.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be forewarned that PAYE is facing changes, including the likelihood that only $57,500 of debt can be forgiven, so understand what you're likely to owe at the end of your repayment term. This change only applies to new PAYE borrowers, so act before December of 2015 to get grandfathered into the more generous current version of the plan, if you qualify.</li> </ul> <p>Repaying student loans can be burdensome. Make repayment less onerous by selecting the right plan for you.</p> <p><em>How are you repaying your student loans?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">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-15"> <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/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</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/cancel-student-loans-to-save-and-receive-an-interest-free-120-day-loan">Cancel Student Loans to Save — and Receive an Interest-Free 120-Day Loan</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/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</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/share-your-thoughts-consolidating-student-loans">Share Your Thoughts: Consolidating Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training income-based loan forgiveness loan repayment pay as you earn student loans Thu, 09 Apr 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1370264 at http://www.wisebread.com