credit score http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8451/all en-US 5 Money Moves to Make When It's Too Hot to Go Outside http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-when-its-too-hot-to-go-outside <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-moves-to-make-when-its-too-hot-to-go-outside" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_heat_exhaustion.jpg" alt="Man with heat exhaustion" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The heat wave is coming &mdash; are you ready? For many, summer marks the start of vacation season, especially for kids or those who have several weeks off work. While it is good to take a much-needed break, don't get too lackadaisical when it comes to your bank account this season.</p> <p>Here are a few money moves you should make when it is too hot to do much else. You will be thankful later that you didn't take a vacation from managing your money wisely.</p> <h2>1. Comparison shop insurance plans</h2> <p>When you've had the same auto insurance and home insurance for over a year, you might be stuck in the mindset that you are paying the best price, especially if you shopped quotes the year previously. Recently, my husband and I thought we were getting the best price for our car insurance because it had been the cheapest option for us for the past six years, and we had racked up several discounts for being on the plan so long.</p> <p>However, replacing our paid-off SUV with a new van and having a minor accident the year before slowly made our rates creep up. I honestly didn't think another company could offer cheaper insurance, but a few quick searches online helped us find the same coverage for $500 less a year.</p> <p>Bottom line: Don't assume you are paying the best price for insurance just because your plan was the cheapest when you shopped for rates earlier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>2. Put investing on autopilot</h2> <p>Don't want to think about investing on your summer break? Me neither. Investing is similar to exercising. Only a select few really love to partake and the rest of us know we must do it to remain (financially) healthy. Thankfully, you don't have to become an expert in the stock market to start investing your money. Instead, try these simple ways to put your investments on autopilot:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Start with setting up automatic deposits from your paycheck into your 401(k) through your employer. If you can set your account to increase your investment by 1 percent each year, you can grow your retirement fund without feeling the monetary sacrifice.</p> </li> <li> <p>Use an app like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop?ref=internal" target="_blank">Acorns</a>, which rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically invests your spare change.</p> </li> <li> <p>Set up automatic payments to investment accounts. Both Fidelity and Ally offer different online investment accounts where you can set up automatic transfers. While they might require a minimum amount to start the account (i.e. Ally's professionally-managed portfolio account requires $2,500 to open), you can set up small amounts of money to be transferred each week. Think about it. You really won't miss $10 to $20 a week, but setting up the transfer will equate to $520 to $1,040 invested each year.</p> </li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-all-rookie-investors-should-ask?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Questions All Rookie Investors Should Ask</a>)</p> <h2>3. Declutter, sell, and donate</h2> <p>It may be too hot for a garage sale, but that doesn't mean you can't sell some unused items and free up space around the house. Make a game out of decluttering and tackle one small area of your air-conditioned home each day of the week. You can worry about your garage, basement, or attic in the cooler months. Make your decision quickly about what to keep, sell, and donate. Remember, anything you don't use regularly is taking up prime real estate in your home. Don't try to justify a need for it in the future.</p> <p>If the item is larger, such as a baby swing or chair, list it on Craigslist, OfferUp, or local Facebook selling groups. If the item is easy to ship and can make you more than $10, like designer jeans or an old iPad, list it on eBay. For eBay sales, I schedule postal pickups so that I don't have to deal with the heat and post office lines.</p> <p>If the item does not sell well locally or through eBay, schedule a donation pickup. Fill up a box of unwanted goods, schedule a pickup with a local second hand store, leave it on your porch, and save the donation slip for tax season. Finally, enjoy a large glass of lemonade in your decluttered home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-easy-ways-to-earn-more-on-ebay?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Easy Ways to Earn More on eBay</a>)</p> <h2>4. Review your credit reports and credit score</h2> <p>Plan to get your credit in tiptop shape this summer, especially if you hope to purchase a car, home, or open a new credit card in the near future. An excellent credit score will save you money on lower interest rates.</p> <p>First things first, order a free copy of your credit report through <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You are entitled to three free copies &mdash; one each from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; every year. Check the report for inaccuracies and make sure everything looks as expected. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <p>Next, order your credit score. You can purchase your FICO score from <a href="https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1150834&amp;u=255320&amp;m=41089&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=" target="_blank">myFICO</a> &mdash; it will run you about $19.95 a piece from each of the three credit bureaus. You can also get a good idea of what your score is through free sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, or through <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards that offer free credit scores</a>.</p> <p>Note that these free scores often have their own metric for credit scoring, and that number may differ slightly from your official FICO score, which is what most lenders use when determining whether or not to approve you for credit. Still, a free score will give you a good ballpark estimate of where your score stands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-for-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">I Checked My Credit Score in 11 Places &mdash; Here's What I Learned</a>)</p> <p>What I like about both Credit Karma and Credit Sesame is that they will show you which areas you need to improve to boost your score. For example, if your credit usage is too high, the site may recommend that you boost your score by paying off debt and/or increasing your credit limit, either by opening up a new card or asking for a limit increase. Of course, be aware that asking for a credit increase and opening up a new card can be reported as hard inquiries on your credit report, and too many hard inquiries can negatively affect your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>5. Start your holiday savings fund</h2> <p>Even though Thanksgiving and Christmas are months away, they are coming, and they will be costly. Avoid the holiday debt trap or credit card hangover by saving way ahead of time. If you start in June, you have six months to build up a savings fund without the stress. Calculate how much you spent on Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa the year before, and use it as a guideline for how much you should save.</p> <p>For example, if the winter celebrations cost your family $1,000 between food shopping, decorations, presents, and outfits, divide that number by six and aim to save that much each month. It is much easier to save $167 each month for six months than to try and find an extra $1,000 in your budget between November and December. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <p>Don't waste your summer months wishing you were on a beach somewhere or enviously looking at friends' and co-workers' vacation pictures. Instead, work on your finances with these easy steps so that you can be the one enjoying a debt-free vacation next year.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-when-its-too-hot-to-go-outside">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/9-money-moves-youre-never-too-old-to-make">9 Money Moves You&#039;re Never too Old to Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-money-moves-to-make-on-a-rainy-day">7 Easy Money Moves to Make on a Rainy Day</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-money-accomplishments-you-should-be-proud-of">5 Money Accomplishments You Should Be Proud Of</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same">Here&#039;s Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</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-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1">5 Brilliant Money Moves You Should Make on January 1</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit report credit score decluttering Holidays insurance investing money moves savings funds selling summer Mon, 21 May 2018 09:00:30 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2140372 at http://www.wisebread.com Do You Need Credit Monitoring to Protect Your Credit? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-credit-monitoring-to-protect-your-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-need-credit-monitoring-to-protect-your-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/turn_your_visitors_into_active_participants_on_your_website.jpg" alt="Turn your visitors into active participants on your website" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While the internet has improved our lives in numerous ways, technology has also made our personal information more vulnerable than ever. If data breaches from big stores like Target and Home Depot several years ago didn't convince you of this fact, the 2017 Equifax data breach, which may have released the sensitive data of up to 145 million consumers, probably helped you realize how much peril your personal information could be in.</p> <p>If you've seen ads for credit monitoring services like LifeLock or Identity Guard, you may have wondered if signing up is worth it. You may have also heard about credit freezes and fraud alerts and wondered how those work. Before you take any steps to protect your credit and your identity, here's what you should know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Panic. Do This Instead If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>The difference between credit monitoring, credit freezes, and fraud alerts</h2> <p>During the Equifax data breach, consumers' names, Social Security numbers, addresses, and, in some cases, credit card numbers were accessed by hackers. To control damages after the breach, Equifax created a special website where you could enter your information and <a href="https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html" target="_blank">find out if you were affected by the Equifax breach</a>. It also began offering a year of free credit monitoring and other identity theft services to all U.S. consumers, whether their information was accessed during the data breach or not.</p> <p>In addition to taking advantage of credit monitoring, Equifax and consumer advocates suggested consumers consider several other steps to protect their credit right away: freezing their credit reports and placing a fraud alert on their reports.</p> <p>But what's the difference between these options? While each service has the same goal of protecting your identity and your credit, they all work differently and some may be better for some consumers than others.</p> <h3>Credit monitoring</h3> <p>Traditionally, credit monitoring is a service people pay for. With LifeLock, for example, you can pay a monthly fee to have the company continually check for fraud or threats to your financial accounts and credit reports. Other credit monitoring services work similarly, although they may offer different features.</p> <h3>Credit freeze</h3> <p>With a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit freeze</a>, you usually pay up to $10 per credit reporting agency to make your credit report inaccessible to lenders, thereby making it impossible for hackers and scammers to open new accounts in your name. Note that you usually also pay a fee every time you want to unfreeze your credit. For now, credit freezes and unfreezes are free with Equifax.</p> <h3>Fraud alerts</h3> <p>If you don't want to freeze your credit completely, you can place three different types of fraud alerts on your credit report instead. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-free-fraud-alert-on-your-credit-report?ref=internal" target="_blank">Fraud alerts</a> are free, and they require lenders to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name. As the <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs#difference" target="_blank">Federal Trade Commission</a> notes, options include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Initial fraud alert: This type of fraud alert is best for someone whose identity hasn't been stolen yet. It protects your credit from unverified access for up to 90 days.</p> </li> <li> <p>Extended fraud alert: An extended fraud alert protects victims of identity theft for up to seven years.</p> </li> <li> <p>Active duty military alert: This alert protects active duty service members from identity theft for up to one year while they are on deployment.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Should you pay for credit monitoring?</h2> <p>Whether you should pay for credit monitoring depends on your situation. Gerri Detweiler, education director for Nav, a company that makes tools for managing business credit, says that while there are more opportunities than ever to monitor your credit for free, there are times when paying for a more comprehensive service could be advantageous. &quot;The monitoring on these platforms can be more robust,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If you know that you will not take the time to monitor your credit accounts yourself, or you just want the peace of mind of knowing someone else is doing it for you, then paying for a subscription service may be worth it.</p> <p>Freezing your credit report can also make sense, says Detweiler. But if you're doing it to prevent identity theft, you need to know the drawbacks. &quot;It can be a hassle when you go to apply for credit, insurance, or even try to get a new cellphone,&quot; says Detweiler, mostly because you will have to unfreeze your credit report any time you want to apply for new credit. That can get costly.</p> <p>Detweiler says she also worries that credit freezes create a false sense of security. While a freeze can prevent someone from opening new accounts in your name, it can't prevent hackers from using your existing accounts fraudulently or stealing your information.</p> <p>As far as fraud alerts go, Detweiler chose this option when she was a victim of identity theft in 2017. While a credit freeze locks down your new credit, fraud alerts allow creditors to access your credit report as long as they are able to verify your identity. For this reason, fraud alerts may be a better option for someone who opens new credit regularly and still wants some protection against identity theft.</p> <h2>Other ways to keep your credit safe</h2> <p>If you are preparing for a crucial loan like a mortgage, new auto loan, or small business loan, for example, you want to make sure your credit is as solid as possible, says Detweiler. That's because lower credit scores may mean you won't get approved for the loan or you'll pay more in interest charges.</p> <p>Plus, you'll want to keep your identity and personal information safe from hackers and scammers no matter what. If your identity is stolen, it can take months or even years to get the situation cleared up.</p> <p>Detweiler says you should take advantage of the fact that you can get a free copy of your credit report from the three credit reporting agencies &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; once per year at <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. By accessing your full credit report regularly, you can check for errors or fraudulent activity and report them immediately if you find them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <p>There are also plenty of places where you can get a free credit score. Many credit card issuers give out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">free credit scores</a>. Other free services such as Credit Karma give you an estimate of your credit score year-round and set up notifications to let you know when a new account is opened in your name.</p> <p>Trevor Buxton, Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and assistant vice president of fraud prevention at PNC Bank also suggests the following actions to keep your credit safe:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Keep a close eye on your bank accounts. &quot;If you notice unauthorized activity on your account, immediately call the number on the back of your debit, ATM, or credit card, or stop by your local branch,&quot; says Buxton.</p> </li> <li> <p>Sign up for alerts on your accounts. Many banks let you set up your credit and debit accounts so you're notified any time a purchase is made.</p> </li> <li> <p>Spread your free credit reports over the course of a year. Since you can get a free report from the three credit reporting agencies once per year, Buxton suggests spreading those out by accessing one free report every four months.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Notify credit reporting agencies of any false reporting. If you find any errors on your credit report, notify the credit reporting agency in question and dispute the information right away. You can find out more about how to dispute errors on your credit report on <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports" target="_blank">the FTC website</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-credit-monitoring-to-protect-your-credit">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/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you">Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-millennials-can-avoid-of-financial-fraud">3 Ways Millennials Can Avoid Financial Fraud</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs credit card tips credit monitoring credit protection credit score identity theft Tue, 15 May 2018 08:30:24 +0000 Holly Johnson 2138232 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Mistakes at 20 That Will Land You in Debt by 30 http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-mistakes-at-20-that-will-land-you-in-debt-by-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-mistakes-at-20-that-will-land-you-in-debt-by-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_looking_at_wallet_with_money_dollars_flying_away.jpg" alt="Man looking at wallet with money dollars flying away" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few mistakes are more difficult to erase than money mistakes. The errors of youth have a way of haunting us long after we've changed our ways and become models of responsible personal finance. If you're in your 20s, look ahead and make life easier for your 30-something self. Here are eight money mistakes at 20 that will land you in debt by 30.</p> <h2>1. Amassing huge student loans</h2> <p>According to Student Loan Hero, today's average student loan borrower will graduate owing $37,172. What makes student loan debt particularly dangerous? First, most loans have variable interest rates. When rates increase, so do your payments (try budgeting around that). Second, student loan debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy. If you default, the government can garnish your wages, take your tax refund, and even dip into your Social Security payments in retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-really-happens-when-you-dont-pay-your-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Really Happens When You Don't Pay Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>2. Carrying credit card debt</h2> <p>With high interest rates, late payment penalties, and other fees, a modest credit card balance can quickly become a major problem. People who overspend in their 20s can easily rack up huge debt loads by their 30s &mdash; a situation that forces many to delay homeownership, toil away at jobs they dislike, and live with constant financial stress. Avoid the drama of consumer debt. Adopt a strict policy of paying off your credit balances in full each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Ignoring your credit score</h2> <p>Your FICO score is your GPA of adulthood. That magic number affects everything from loan eligibility and interest rates to employment opportunities. Since rebuilding a low credit score can take years, you can't afford to ignore it. Just imagine getting stuck with a higher mortgage rate at 35 because you were late with a few car payments at 27. Not good. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a>)</p> <h2>4. Splurging on a new car</h2> <p>Countless 20-somethings are tempted to buy a new car as soon as they land their first real job. But with steep prices, rapid depreciation, and higher insurance premiums, buying new is seldom a smart financial move. This single bad investment can strain your budget for years and leave little money to establish an emergency fund or aggressively pay down student debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a>)</p> <h2>5. Not talking finances with your significant other</h2> <p>Ready for an important love lesson? Talking about money won't kill your romance, but the stress of overwhelming debt just might. Before you commit, share your full financial picture (warts and all). Talk about income, debt, bad money habits you're trying to overcome, and your personal financial goals. It'll not only bring you closer as a couple, it'll empower you to work as a team. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</a>)</p> <h2>6. Overspending for your wedding</h2> <p>According to a study conducted by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the United States hit a whopping $35,329 in 2016. And while new unions are always a cause for celebration, the price tag for these elaborate events often forces young couples to assume more debt at a time when paying off student loans, saving for a home, and funding retirement accounts should be top priorities. With interest, wedding bills can easily become money monsters that devour budgets for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-taking-a-loan-for-your-wedding-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons Taking a Loan For Your Wedding Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>7. Not building an emergency fund</h2> <p>Ah, the optimism of youth! Twenty-somethings often don't realize that a layoff, uninsured medical expense, or unexpected home repair can spell financial disaster. Without an emergency fund to cover at least six months' worth of living expenses, they risk being forced into high-interest credit card debt &mdash; a decision that can launch a long-term cycle of debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>8. Going without health insurance</h2> <p>We all feel invincible when we're in our 20s, but accidents and unexpected health issues can throw our lives off course at any moment. Without insurance, medical bills can quickly reach staggering amounts (in fact, medical expenses are the most common cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States). Protect your most important asset &mdash; <em>yourself</em>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a>)</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/8-money-mistakes-at-20-that-will-land-you-in-debt-by-30">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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie">10 Signs You&#039;re No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie</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/3-ways-student-loan-debt-can-affect-your-mortgage-application">3 Ways Student Loan Debt Can Affect Your Mortgage Application</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-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</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-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 20s 30s credit and debt credit score emergency funds health insurance money mistakes overspending student loans weddings Mon, 14 May 2018 08:01:14 +0000 Kentin Waits 2136566 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things That Affect Your Car Insurance Rates http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-that-affect-your-car-insurance-rates <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-that-affect-your-car-insurance-rates" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_stack_in_columns_on_saving_book_and_car.jpg" alt="Coins stack in columns on saving book and car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever shopped around for car insurance, there's one thing you may already realize: Calculating rates is not an exact science. This is why you can get relatively different quotes from different insurers. It's also why you should shop around.</p> <p>That said, your rate is also affected by a variety of factors &mdash; some of which you can control, and some of which you can't. You probably already know that factors like your gender, age, and driving record affect your auto insurance rates, so we reached out to a few experts to find out what other, lesser-known factors can affect your premiums. Here are a few.</p> <h2>1. The kind of car you drive</h2> <p>You can probably guess that if you drive a $100,000 sports car, you're going to have very high insurance rates. But there are a lot of other common details about your car that could affect your insurance rates.</p> <p>According to Mark Nicholson, marketing director at auto marketing company Absolute Results Productions Ltd., these include the safety rating of your vehicle, its size and age, and even the likelihood that it might be stolen.</p> <p>&quot;Another factor some providers use is how much horsepower your engine has, because by their logic, it suggests that you're more likely to drive fast and are at greater risk of getting into an accident,&quot; Nicholson says.</p> <p>This is why when you're buying a new car, it's a good idea to call for insurance quotes <em>before </em>you actually make your final purchase decision. If the new car you choose is considerably faster or sportier than the one you're driving now, that'll be reflected in a higher insurance rate.</p> <p>For example, if you're considering a 4x4 SUV, you need to consider that a factor as well.</p> <p>&quot;Even if 90 percent of 4x4 SUVs will never be driven off-road, the insurance company will assume you'll want to take the occasional trek up a mountainside or fly down that dirt path through the woods. That's a higher risk, and you'll pay more for it,&quot; says Chris Burdick of Automoblog.net.</p> <p>Even if you opt for a super-practical family sedan, you still might get stuck with high insurance premiums.</p> <p>&quot;You'd think that the more common the car, the less insurance will be, but that's not always the case,&quot; Burdick says. &quot;For example, if you own a Honda Accord, it's considered to be one of the most stolen cars in the U.S. Same with the Honda Civic, Nissan Altima, Chevy Impala, and Toyota Camry. If you own a car that's stolen frequently, your insurance company will find that to be a higher risk and your insurance rates will go up accordingly.&quot;</p> <p>Bottom line? Talk to your insurance company <em>before</em> you choose a new car to ensure that insurance rates for the vehicle you're considering are in line with what you're willing or able to pay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>2. Poor credit</h2> <p>Yup, they're watching you. In fact, your insurance company probably uses quite a few facts about you &mdash; both basic and personal &mdash; to calculate your car insurance rate. Some of the most common factors that will count against you and raise your rate include being under 25, being male, and having a poor credit score.</p> <p>&quot;We can see a difference in rate of 100 percent or more in premium increase for someone with poor credit,&quot; says Joe Espenschied, agency principal and owner at Insurance Brokers Group. &quot;When we have a quote for someone with a clean driving history &mdash; but a very high insurance premium &mdash; it's due to credit.&quot;</p> <p>At least credit (unlike age and gender) is a factor you can control. But there are other interesting details about your life that could impact your premium, too.</p> <h2>3. Homeowner status</h2> <p>Sophia Borghese, a consultant for Superior Honda in Louisiana, says that being a homeowner can impact your insurance rate, much like your credit score.</p> <p>&quot;Homeowners are lucky. It's thought that they do not have as many financial issues as renters. Because of this, insurance companies trust and reward them by not giving them the burden of high rates,&quot; Borghese says.</p> <h2>4. Marital status</h2> <p>Another personal detail many insurers consider is your marital status. Some insurers see married drivers as being more responsible than single ones. In fact, a 2004 study by the National Institutes of Health and reported on by DMV.org found that singles were twice as likely as married people to get into automobile accidents.</p> <p>&quot;The amount by which your rates drop can vary greatly based on your other circumstances, although men's rates tend to drop more than women's when they get married,&quot; says Steve Pritchard, founder of insurance comparison site Cuuver. &quot;However, those who have a driving history free of accidents, and a clean driving record before getting married, could see their rates reduced by almost half of what they were paying before they tied the knot.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Your career</h2> <p>There's one more personal wild-card that could have an impact on your premium: your job. According to The Zebra's 2018 State of Auto Insurance Report, drivers with full-time jobs will save about $30 on car insurance over those who are unemployed, while active duty military and veterans will get a discount of about $50 over civilians. If you use your vehicle for work, you can also expect to see your rates go up.</p> <h2>6. How and where you drive</h2> <p>We all know that our driving records affect our insurance rates, but there are lots of other components of how and where you drive that can affect premiums as well.</p> <p>The distance of your commute to work can affect your premium. After all, if you're on the road longer, you're considered higher risk. (Which is why you should definitely inform your insurance provider whenever your commute changes.)</p> <p>Where you live and drive is also scored according to cases of vandalism, the number of claims and fraudulent claims in that area, cases of vehicle theft, and the occurrence of damaging weather, such as flooding or hurricanes.</p> <p>But insurance providers are also moving beyond statistics and data about your past behavior to provide insurance based on how you are <em>actually </em>driving day to day. This involves installing what's called a usage-based insurance device into your car, which tracks your driving behavior.</p> <p>&quot;If you practice safe driving habits, don't frequently drive between 12:00 and 2 a.m., or use lots of high-traffic routes, you could qualify for up to a 30 percent decrease in insurance rates,&quot; says Anna Drake, the insurance producer at Insurance Shop LLC. Of course, if your driving habits are less than stellar, this type of policy could also drive your rates upward.</p> <h2>7. And then there's the &quot;secret sauce&quot;</h2> <p>While most insurance companies use some combination of the same or similar factors to calculate your insurance rate, there's no standard calculation.</p> <p>&quot;Each company compiles its own factors to find its own 'secret sauce' or 'ideal insured.' When the individual hits a company's sweet spot, it will reflect in pricing and coverage,&quot; says Janine Fixmer, an independent insurance agent at Agency Insurance LLC.</p> <p>This why it's so important to shop around for the best rate and coverage, and to try to keep a handle on the factors insurance companies consider that you can control &mdash; such as your driving record, credit score, and the type of vehicle you choose to drive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mistakes-to-avoid-when-shopping-for-car-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for Car Insurance</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-that-affect-your-car-insurance-rates&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Things%2520That%2520Affect%2520Your%2520Car%2520Insurance%2520Rates.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20That%20Affect%20Your%20Car%20Insurance%20Rates"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20That%20Affect%20Your%20Car%20Insurance%20Rates.jpg" alt="7 Things That Affect Your Car Insurance Rates" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-that-affect-your-car-insurance-rates">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/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</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/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</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-kind-of-auto-insurance-do-uber-drivers-need">What Kind of Auto Insurance Do Uber Drivers Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-car-was-recalled-now-what">Your Car Was Recalled. 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/4-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance car insurance career credit score driving homeownership marital status premiums vehicles Thu, 10 May 2018 08:30:16 +0000 Tara Struyk 2136558 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Boost Your Partner's Bad Credit Without Risking Your Own http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-boost-your-partners-bad-credit-without-risking-your-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-boost-your-partners-bad-credit-without-risking-your-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_and_woman_home_budgeting_0.jpg" alt="Man and woman home budgeting" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You can't help with whom you fall in love &mdash; and that's never more annoying than when the object of your affection has royally effed up their credit. Nobody's calling it quits over a few past financial mistakes, but the situation will need to improve if you two are planning a future together that includes buying a home, starting a business, or other major money-based life decisions.</p> <p>Since you're now in this together, you have a responsibility to do what you can to make sure you start your joint life on the right foot credit-wise. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Help your partner review their credit report to flag and report errors</h2> <p>If your partner has terrible credit, it's likely that they don't know how to pull their credit report, flag errors, and report them to the appropriate authority to have them removed or updated. That's where your expertise (or even elementary knowledge) of how credit reports work comes in. Flagging and reporting credit errors is the first step in getting their situation back on track and under control. Once that's squared away, you can move on to the bigger issues. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <h2>2. Provide positive reinforcement instead of bailing them out</h2> <p>It's easy to throw money at a problem to make it go away &mdash; especially if you have extra cash to spare and the person you love will benefit immensely from your generosity (at least in the short term). But I urge you to avoid opening your wallet to deal with your partner's bad credit. Instead, provide encouragement that they can manage their debt on their own.</p> <p>They created this situation, after all, and the only acceptable solution is that they work it out without your financial assistance. Help them in other areas, like navigating their credit report, but don't shill out dough to dig them out. The only thing they'll take away from that scenario is that you'll always be the sucker who pays for their poor judgment.</p> <h2>3. Establish a cash allowance that you'll both adhere to</h2> <p>You can't take your adult partner's credit cards from them (even though you might like to), so an easier-to-swallow solution is to jointly stop using credit and instead switch over to an all-cash budget. If they feel like you're both in this together, they'll be more willing to comply. You might have to make a few sacrifices along the way with your cards not available, sure. But if it helps condition your partner to spend and save smarter, forgoing the treat-yo'-self impulse buys you're used to will be worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a>)</p> <h2>4. Brainstorm actionable ways they can start chipping away at their debt</h2> <p>Sit down together and come up with ideas about how your partner can start paying down their debt faster. That may involve asking for a raise at work; picking up a part-time job; working a few side gigs, like driving for a ride-sharing service and pet sitting; selling off unwanted or unused valuables; downsizing their lifestyle (maybe it's time to move in together so both of you can save?); and canceling all frivolous monthly expenses, like subscription services and memberships. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a>)</p> <h2>5. Schedule autopays on pay days</h2> <p>Help your partner set up auto-payments that coincide with their paydays so the money goes straight from their checking account to their debt accounts, leaving them little time to start a spending spree before handling their financial responsibilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>If your partner doesn't like the idea of auto-paying bills, maybe they could get on board with a regular money meeting where you both sit down each week or month to discuss your budget and bills and make payments in each other's presence. It's a way to keep each other accountable, build trust, and establish good money behaviors. Either of these options will make sure the bills are getting paid on time.</p> <h2>6. Discuss secured credit card options</h2> <p>If your partner's credit score is weak, you can help improve it by encouraging them to open a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=internal" target="_blank">secured credit card</a>. Secured cards are fairly easy for anyone to get because the risk to the bank is low. That's because the cardholder puts down a deposit that's typically the same size as the credit limit (which will be low to begin with). If the cardholder defaults on the payments, the bank keeps their deposit.</p> <p>Secured cards are great for building credit because your payment activity is reported to the credit bureaus, just like any other credit card. &quot;After demonstrating consistent payment history, your credit score will steadily improve,&quot; says certified financial adviser Lou Haverty. &quot;You could consider applying for a regular credit card when your score is in the high 600 to low 700 range.&quot;</p> <p>I took my boyfriend to the bank to get a secured card after he moved in with me because I wanted him to start rebuilding his weak (but not necessarily bad) credit. This was an important step for us to take early on because I want him to have decent credit if we decide to buy a house together a few years down the road. Sometimes that's how long it takes, so there's no time like the present to start working the system. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Secured Cards</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-boost-your-partners-bad-credit-without-risking-your-own&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Boost%2520Your%2520Partner%2527s%2520Bad%2520Credit%2520Without%2520Risking%2520Your%2520Own.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Partner's%20Bad%20Credit%20Without%20Risking%20Your%20Own"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Partner%27s%20Bad%20Credit%20Without%20Risking%20Your%20Own.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Boost Your Partner's Bad Credit Without Risking Your Own" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-boost-your-partners-bad-credit-without-risking-your-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-a-bankruptcy">How to Bounce Back From a Bankruptcy</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-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste 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/how-to-become-a-minimalist-with-your-money">How to Become a Minimalist With Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance allowances autopay budgeting cash compromise credit history credit score marriage secured credit cards spouse Tue, 08 May 2018 09:00:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 2136184 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Your Teenager Really Need a Credit Card? http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-teenager-really-need-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-your-teenager-really-need-a-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/girl_shopping_online_with_credit_card.jpg" alt="Girl shopping online with credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Giving your teenager a credit card may seem like a scary proposition, but it could be the safest way to teach them about credit. Credit expert John Ulzheimer says it's just like teaching your teenager how to operate a car, but in a controlled environment. &quot;Nobody would just let a teen hop in a car and drive,&quot; says Ulzheimer, who formerly worked with Equifax and FICO. &quot;And nobody should just let their kid get a card on their own someday without some teaching by the parents.&quot;</p> <p>Yet, that is exactly what many people do. The problem is, for a teen, a credit card may seem &quot;no different from using a gift card or some other stored-value card,&quot; says Ulzheimer. And that can be dangerous. If they charge more than they can afford to repay, they might wind up dealing with years of debt and regret.</p> <p>The reality is that your child will need credit to borrow money one day. If they don't build a solid credit history during high school or college, they may start their adult lives at a disadvantage. &quot;Helping your teenager build their credit can make their life easier in the future when they go to purchase a big-ticket item on a line of credit, like a vehicle or home,&quot; says Gina McKague, president and CEO of retirement planning firm McKague Financial.</p> <p>And while some financial experts like Dave Ramsey insist that nobody needs a credit score to get by in life, many argue that thinking is outdated. The reality is, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-life-is-better-with-good-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">good credit improves your life significantly</a>. &quot;Not only is establishing credit vital for obtaining something significant like a loan, but as more and more vendors exclusively accept payments via credit cards or even smartphones, it can be necessary just for buying lunch,&quot; says Jeff Motske, financial planner and CEO of Trilogy Financial in Huntington Beach, California.</p> <p>Besides lenders, everyone from car insurance companies, to landlords, to employers can ask for modified versions of your credit report. They can influence your ability to get a job, an apartment, or good car insurance rates. If those aren't reasons enough to get your teen on the right track with responsible credit use, what is?</p> <h2>How to get your teenager a credit card</h2> <p>Ulzheimer says there are several ways to know if your child is ready to learn about credit. If they're already using debit cards, prepaid cards, or their phone to make purchases with your credit card information, then they're probably ready to get a credit card with your help, he says. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Websites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a>)</p> <p>Still not sure? A teenager's senior year in high school is often a good time to start. &quot;That way, they're as mature as possible while still living under your roof,&quot; notes Ulzheimer.</p> <p>Once your kid is primed and ready, the best way to introduce them to credit is by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-add-your-teen-as-an-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">adding them as an authorized user</a> to your own credit card account. Doing so comes with several advantages, including the fact that your own positive credit movements will be reported to your teenager's credit report. Not only that, but you will receive the bill, so you can keep tabs on their activity. Just be aware that you and you alone are responsible for repaying every charge your teenager makes.</p> <p>Ulzheimer suggests teaching your kids to use credit cards only for purchases they were going to make anyway, such as gas or movies. If they have a job, you can even require that they make payments from their own money, he says.</p> <p>This should be easy to do even though you're the one receiving the bill. When your statement arrives in the mail or via email, simply tally up your child's purchases and let them know what they owe. Ideally, they will also keep a record of what they paid for with credit and have the money saved to pay their share of the bill &mdash; just like in the real world.</p> <p>And if you're worried your teen will fall into some bad credit habits right away, Ulzheimer suggests setting up text alerts so you know exactly when the card is being used. This way, &quot;you can make sure they're not using the card outside the boundaries you set,&quot; he says. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a>)</p> <h2>Other ways to introduce the concept of credit</h2> <p>If you're not sure if your teen is ready for a credit card, you can always start them off with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">prepaid debit card</a>. &quot;Be sure to establish some ground rules,&quot; says Motske. For example, explain what expenses the card should be used for, how long the funds on the card should last, and what criteria would cause you to revoke the prepaid card.</p> <p>Many prepaid debit cards, such as the Current Card, are geared toward teens. The Current Card runs on the Visa system, so it's accepted at most merchants. Like any other prepaid debit card, you have to load funds into the account before it can be used. But the Current Card also offers enhanced features that help kids budget their money, save for a rainy day, and donate to charity. Parents are able to manage and oversee the teen's purchases with a mobile app and add money to their accounts instantly.</p> <p>A regular debit card tied to a bank account can also be a good way to get the ball rolling, or it can be a transition tool between a prepaid card and a credit card. You may even want to link it to the child's own bank account, so they can only use money that's given to them or that they earn from chores or a job.</p> <p>Eventually, however, you want to introduce them to credit cards by adding them as an authorized user to your account. Ideally, you'll want to do this before they leave the nest and wind up dabbling with credit on their own. &quot;Be sure to establish a new set of ground rules with the new card, including the familial and financial consequences of not following those rules,&quot; advises Motske.</p> <p>The idea of giving your teenager a credit card may be the stuff of nightmares. But it could be even scarier to imagine them learning about credit through the school of hard knocks &mdash; by racking up a huge mountain of debt or ruining their credit score by not paying their bills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a>)</p> <p>&quot;By educating your children early about credit and credit cards, you can hopefully help them avoid the pitfalls that so many stumble upon the hard way,&quot; says Motske.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdoes-your-teenager-really-need-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDoes%2520Your%2520Teenager%2520Really%2520Need%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card_.jpg&amp;description=Does%20Your%20Teenager%20Really%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Does%20Your%20Teenager%20Really%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card_.jpg" alt="Does Your Teenager Really Need a Credit Card?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-teenager-really-need-a-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-first-credit-card-and-build-credit">How to Get Your First Credit Card and Build 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-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using 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/4-reasons-to-add-your-teen-as-an-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card">4 Reasons to Add Your Teen as an Authorized User on Your Credit Card</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-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</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-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Family authorized user building credit credit card tips credit score kids teenagers Tue, 08 May 2018 08:30:26 +0000 Holly Johnson 2136674 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Accomplishments You Should Be Proud Of http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-accomplishments-you-should-be-proud-of <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-accomplishments-you-should-be-proud-of" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_excited_woman_throwing_money.jpg" alt="Happy excited woman throwing money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling overwhelmed by how much progress you need to make on your financial goals? It may be time to focus on how far you have come already rather than how far you have left to go.</p> <p>Here are some major financial accomplishments that you should be proud of. And even if you aren't quite hitting those accomplishments just yet, we've got tips to help get you there.</p> <h2>1. Paying off debt</h2> <p>Don't wait until all of your debt is paid off to celebrate. Even paying off one credit card or loan is a huge accomplishment that can motivate you to keep going. You may be encouraged to pay off the rest of your debt faster, or put more money aside in your savings account.</p> <p>If you feel like your debt repayment plan is not going anywhere, you might need to change up your approach to see real results. First off, commit to never making only minimum monthly payments and stop using your credit cards. If you still aren't seeing progress, consider doing a balance transfer to a promotional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR credit card</a> so that you can tackle the debt more intentionally without drowning in high interest rates. Just make sure to pay off the debt before the promotional 0% APR window closes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Making retirement contributions</h2> <p>If a portion of your income is directed to your retirement account before it hits your bank account, give yourself a huge pat on the back. Not only are you successfully building up your 401(k), but you are also decreasing your tax burden for the year. If your company offers a match on contributions, it's even better to contribute enough to at least secure the company match. You don't want to leave any free money on the table.</p> <p>Not making retirement contributions yet or only contributing a small percentage? The least painful way to up your contribution rate is to have your contribution percentage automatically increased by one to two percent every year. If you make $60,000 a year, contributing 3 percent comes out to around $75 per biweekly paycheck. You probably won't miss that money, especially if you aim to get a small raise or promotion each year.</p> <p>Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your efforts are too small. It might not seem like your contributions are growing at first, but after a decade, you will start seeing the power of compounding take effect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life</a>)</p> <h2>3. Getting a raise</h2> <p>Whether you automatically got a pay bump, or you had the gumption to ask for a raise, congratulations; you should be proud! To stay ahead of the game, make sure you don't increase your cost of living along with your bigger paycheck. Instead, live as if you never received the raise at all. If you want to treat yourself, you can put a little bit of money aside each month to reward yourself at the end of the year with something fun &mdash; so long as it doesn't negate your extra earnings.</p> <p>Are you working hard but feel underpaid? There's a good chance you will never receive a raise if you don't ask for one. If your current employer won't increase your salary, start applying for positions that will grant you a higher paycheck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-a-raise-out-of-the-blue?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Negotiate a Raise Out of the Blue</a>)</p> <h2>4. Increasing your credit score</h2> <p>Boosting your credit score is a great feat, especially if you've had to bounce back from a low score, bankruptcy, or an account going to collections. It takes time and dedication to increase your credit score and fix negative marks against your report, but once you are in a good credit range, you can change many other areas of your finances. You can refinance to a lower interest rate for an existing mortgage or car loan, or get a better credit card with a higher limit and better rewards. A higher credit score can also lead you to buying the home of your dreams if you've been stuck with only rentals.</p> <p>Still wishing for a better credit score? It doesn't come through sheer hope. Monitoring your credit score health through free resources like <a href="https://www.creditsesame.com/" target="_blank">Credit Sesame</a> can help you identify the areas that are hurting your score the most, such as inconsistent payments or too much debt. One thing to note is that free credit reporting sites often use a different credit scoring metric (the VantageScore) than what lenders use when they approve you for financing. If you want a more accurate look into your credit score, you can order your actual FICO score from <a href="https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1150834&amp;u=255320&amp;m=41089&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=" target="_blank">myFICO</a>. Ordering your credit score from one of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) will run you about $19. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-for-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is It Worth Paying for Your Credit Score?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Living frugally</h2> <p>Here's a financial accomplishment that anyone can be proud of, no matter the size of their paycheck. Living frugally can cover a wide range of areas, from ditching meat twice a week for beans and rice, to stashing $20 a week in a savings account, to buying a used kitchen table and saving yourself $400. Any time you opt for the less expensive choice or choose to save money rather than spend, be proud of yourself.</p> <p>Being more frugal in your everyday living doesn't have to be complicated. Simply packing your lunch with leftovers or pantry staples instead of purchasing a $7 meal every day of the workweek will save you $35. Similarly, inviting friends over for a game night and snacks can save you $20&ndash;$50 over seeing a movie or hanging out at the bar.</p> <p>The best way to get started with living frugally is to look at your budget and identify where you spend the most money. Then come up with creative ways to decrease these costs and try them out. Take it a step further and devote the money you saved toward debt repayment or a savings account. It will add up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a>)</p> <p>Stop giving yourself a hard time about not being exactly where you want to be money wise and realize just how far you have come. Do you have more money saved this year than you did last year? Do you have less debt? Are you making more money? Feel proud of the growth you have made, and work on being even more financially fit next year.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-money-accomplishments-you-should-be-proud-of&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Money%2520Accomplishments%2520You%2520Should%2520Be%2520Proud%2520Of.jpg&amp;description=5%20Money%20Accomplishments%20You%20Should%20Be%20Proud%20Of"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Money%20Accomplishments%20You%20Should%20Be%20Proud%20Of.jpg" alt="5 Money Accomplishments You Should Be Proud Of" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-accomplishments-you-should-be-proud-of">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-18"> <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-ways-to-celebrate-a-raise-without-spending-it-all">6 Ways to Celebrate a Raise Without Spending It All</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/9-smart-moves-to-make-after-getting-a-raise-or-promotion">9 Smart Moves to Make After Getting a Raise or Promotion</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/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-youre-never-too-old-to-make">9 Money Moves You&#039;re Never too Old to Make</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-money-moves-to-make-even-if-you-dont-plan-to-buy-a-house">5 Money Moves to Make Even If You Don&#039;t Plan to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle accomplishments company match credit score debt repayment frugal living money moves promotion raise retirement Mon, 07 May 2018 08:00:18 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2136123 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Your First Credit Card and Build Credit http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-first-credit-card-and-build-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-your-first-credit-card-and-build-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/teenage_girl_is_shopping_online_in_a_cafeteria.jpg" alt="Teenage girl is shopping online in a cafeteria" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband wanted to propose to me, we were just finishing up college. He went to a jewelry store at the mall and picked out the prettiest engagement ring he could reasonably pay for with a payment plan. He provided his Social Security Number for the credit check &mdash; but was disappointed to learn that his credit history was not long enough to qualify to buy the ring on credit.</p> <p>If you're a college student or around that age, you may not realize <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-building-credit-in-college-helps-you-win-at-life?ref=internal" target="_blank">how important credit will be</a> in your adult life. Probably a diamond ring isn't the smartest thing to buy on credit anyway. (He ended up proposing using a ring that some student had made in art class and left behind, and I cherish it.) But you'll need an established credit history to rent an apartment without a co-signer, get a car loan, refinance your student loans, or buy a house. And a credit card is a good place to start building credit.</p> <p>So take these steps to get started on a lifetime of high credit scores and clean credit reports.</p> <h2>1. Make sure you're old enough</h2> <p>I was only an 18-year-old college freshman when I signed up for my first credit card in exchange for a free bottle of soda. But that was before the passage of the <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/statutes/credit-card-accountability-responsibility-and-disclosure-act-2009-credit-card-act/credit-card-pub-l-111-24_0.pdf" target="_blank">Credit CARD Act of 2009</a>. That regulation sets the minimum age for getting your own account at 21, unless you can prove that you have sufficient income to pay off a credit card or you can get someone to help you in one of the ways outlined below.</p> <h2>2. If you're not old enough, start with a partner</h2> <p>There is an argument for getting started as soon as possible, even before age 21, as long as you are mature enough to handle a credit account. That argument is that 15 percent of your credit score is based on the age of your accounts. This means that even when you're 50, your credit score might be a tiny bit lower if you put off opening your first card until age 25 instead of getting right to it at age 21 &mdash; or 16.</p> <p>If you are under 21 and do not have a regular source of income, there are several ways that a parent with established credit can help you get a card.</p> <h3>Become an authorized user</h3> <p>This is a baby step toward using credit, one that I've even entrusted my 13-year-old with. An authorized user gets a nice shiny card that they can present at the cash register to buy things, but the user has zero legal responsibility for paying the bill.</p> <p>How could this help you build credit? When you are added as an authorized user to an account with a clean payment history, your own credit may benefit in several ways. The credit bureaus recognize that you have access to credit, and some of the cardholder's good behavior may get attributed to you.</p> <p>But keep in mind that their bad behavior could get recorded on your credit report as well. If your parent, older sibling, or girlfriend has a history of missed payments or accounts in collections, getting an authorized user card on their account will not help you.</p> <p>Since the bills will be going to your parent or whoever else made you an authorized user, you'll have to come to an agreement with them whether you must pay them back for the charges you incur. Some parents who would have otherwise sent their kids cash at college simply set a limit on how much the student is allowed to charge each month, and pay the bill themselves.</p> <h3>Get a co-signer</h3> <p>If a parent cosigns for a credit card account with you, it means that you are both equally responsible for paying the bill, and the payment record will show up on both of your credit reports. If your goal is to build up a record of on-time payments, getting and conscientiously using a card with a co-signer can achieve that.</p> <p>Adults who cosign with their kid should be warned that if the kid doesn't make the payments, the parent's credit could suffer &mdash; and the card issuer may not notify you that the kid isn't making payments. When the minor turns 21 and is ready to fly on his or her own, you might be able to get the bank to remove the co-signer's name from the account, or you might have to pay off the account and close it, then have the young adult open a new account on their own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-cosign-your-teenagers-credit-card-application?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Cosign Your Teen's Credit Card Application?</a>)</p> <h3>Get a guarantor</h3> <p>A guarantor is like a co-signer in that she is responsible for paying the debt if you don't. But unlike a co-signer, she doesn't have the privilege of adding charges to the account. It's also different from a co-signer in that the bank is supposed to exhaust other means of getting the cardholder to pay before they go after the guarantor.</p> <h2>3. Apply for a secured credit card</h2> <p>If you are old enough to apply for that first credit card on your own, don't bother applying for one of those high-end cards with all kinds of great perks. In fact, you may have to start with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">secured card</a>, which requires that you put down a refundable security deposit of anywhere from $200 to several thousand dollars. Often, the credit limit is equal to the deposit, so the card issuer is protected if you don't pay.</p> <p>Research secured cards carefully, as some of these low-end products have high fees or interest rates. But there are good ones out there. Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-secured-cards-with-rewards?ref=internal" target="_blank">secured cards even pay rewards points</a>. Just don't get so distracted by rewards that you ring up charges you can't pay off by the end of the statement period. You'll be charged interest, and those charges usually far outweigh the value of any rewards you earn.</p> <h2>4. Make regular payments</h2> <p>No matter how you get that first card, the key to building up a good credit history is making on-time payments. Payment history is the single biggest factor in a FICO credit score, weighing in at 35 percent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Things With the Biggest Impact on Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>Remember that you are responsible for paying on time even if the bill arrives in the mail late or gets lost. Many cards offer text or email alerts to remind you when the payment is due. You can also set up an autopay from your checking account so that your payment is never late.</p> <h2>5. Pay in full each month</h2> <p>You'll notice when you get your first bill that you're not necessarily required to pay for everything you charged that month in order to be considered on time. Most cards allow you to make a minimum payment now, and pay the rest off later.</p> <p>This is a bad idea. Not only will you incur interest charges if you do that, but it can also slow down the improvement of your credit. That's because the balance you're carrying will appear on your credit report as part of your total debt. Your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a> is the second biggest category affecting your FICO credit score after payment history. Basically, the more of your available balances that you're using, the worse it is for your credit score.</p> <h2>6. Get out of the dorms</h2> <p>Living in the dorms does nothing for your credit score. But if you get an apartment and pay the rent on time, those payments can go down on your credit history just like on-time credit card payments.</p> <p>Of course, if your name is not on the lease and you just pay your roommate cash each month, it's not going to help your credit report. Also, not all landlords report rent payments to the credit bureaus &mdash; if you're serious about building credit and confident that you will never pay late or break the lease, consider asking your landlord or property management company to start reporting.</p> <p>Just like that first credit card, you may need a parent to cosign your lease with you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Alternative Credit Data Can Help Those With Little or No Credit</a>)</p> <h2>7. Keep your charges low</h2> <p>Just because you have access to a line of credit doesn't mean you should use it all &mdash; even if you can afford to pay it at the end of the month. Credit utilization makes up 30 percent of your score. The rule of thumb is to use no more than 30 percent of your available credit, but it's even better if you can use 10 percent or less. So if you have a $1,000 credit limit, you should only be charging up to $100 in a month.</p> <h2>8. Consider asking for a credit limit increase</h2> <p>Having a higher credit limit can increase your score in the long term, because if you keep your charges at the same level, you'll be using a smaller percentage of your newly enlarged available credit. However, there's also a downside to asking for a limit increase: Your card issuer will probably do a hard credit check to verify that you've been using credit wisely so far. Credit checks can cause a small, temporary dip in credit scores.</p> <p>So what to do? First of all, don't ask for more credit unless you're pretty sure the answer will be yes. Wait until you have been using your card responsibly for a year with no late payments. You can call and ask your credit card issuer if they will do a hard credit check when deciding on a credit limit increase. If they say no, there's no risk at all.</p> <p>If you decide to ask for an increase, <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/credit-cards/i/how-to-ask-for-a-credit-limit-increase/" target="_blank">Credit Karma offers good step-by-step instructions</a> for making the call. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Credit Increase</a>)</p> <h2>9. Don't open a card every time a store clerk offers you one</h2> <p>Often when you're checking out at a store or even online, you'll get an offer of a discount in exchange for taking out a store credit card. Be cautious with these if you are just getting started. Just like with asking for a limit increase, you get a hard credit check every time you apply for a new card. If you have too many credit checks in a short time, it may look like you're desperately applying for a lot of credit because you can't pay your debts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Store Credit Cards That Don't Suck</a>)</p> <p>New credit is not the biggest factor in your credit score, but if you are trying to build it, you might as well be conservative. Besides, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">having too many credit cards</a> can make it hard to keep track of what you owe and remember to pay the bills on time.</p> <h2>10. Understand that your debit card is not a credit card</h2> <p>Many students set up a checking account on their first day at college and receive a debit card that they can swipe at store registers as if it were a credit card. It's not. Because a debit card withdraws money from your checking account as it's used, it does nothing to show that you can handle credit, so the credit bureaus don't count debit card use on your credit report.</p> <p>Another thing to keep in mind is that debit cards are riskier to swipe and use online than credit cards. A crook with your debit card information could clean out your entire bank account if you don't notice the theft right away, causing you to miss your rent or other important payments while you sort out the problem.</p> <p>Also, credit cards and debit cards are held to different standards when it comes to covering fraud against consumers. By law, credit card issuers cannot hold you liable for more than $50 of fraudulent purchases, but in reality, most card issuers have zero-liability policies that will absolve you of any responsibility for paying for fraudulent purchases. The law also protects credit card users against fraudulent charges better than debit card users. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards-vs-debit-cards-a-comprehensive-comparison?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards: A Comprehensive Comparison</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-your-first-credit-card-and-build-credit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Get%2520Your%2520First%2520Credit%2520Card%2520and%2520Build%2520Credit.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20Your%20First%20Credit%20Card%20and%20Build%20Credit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Get%20Your%20First%20Credit%20Card%20and%20Build%20Credit.jpg" alt="How to Get Your First Credit Card and Build Credit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-first-credit-card-and-build-credit">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/does-your-teenager-really-need-a-credit-card">Does Your Teenager Really Need a Credit 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/how-to-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards authorized user building credit credit card tips credit score first credit card Fri, 04 May 2018 08:30:14 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2134245 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Signs You're No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_with_a_piggy_bank_2.jpg" alt="Young woman with a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How are you doing with your money? Is your checking account flourishing? Do you have a well-stocked savings account, a growing 401(k), and an emergency fund ready to save you from life's unexpected money mishaps? That's great news. These are all signs you're out of the minor leagues and are now a major player in the world of personal finance. Here are a few more.</p> <h2>1. You're not panic-checking your financial accounts</h2> <p>When you are in full control of your finances, you know where your money is going, when it's coming in, and you have a pretty good idea of all your balances at all times. You keep track of your spending and you see the numbers you expect to see when you log into your bank or credit card account.</p> <p>This is a far cry from the days when checking your accounts was like a horrible game show moment ('Let's see if there's any money behind door Number 1!'). You may not even notice this good habit anymore, but you can feel good knowing those panicky peeks at your balances are over.</p> <h2>2. You never get a huge tax refund (but you don't owe anything, either)</h2> <p>A massive tax refund is not a smart way to manage your money. By overpaying your taxes, you are giving the government an interest-free loan all year while you miss out on investment opportunities and the benefits of compound interest. Finance rookies overpay their taxes because a refund feels like a windfall. The fact of the matter is that money should have been in your paycheck all along.</p> <p>No one wants to owe money at tax time, but if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck?ref=internal" target="_blank">calculate your withholdings correctly</a>, you should come out as close to $0 as possible. That means you're taking advantage of every cent you earn throughout the year.</p> <h2>3. You have almost no monthly debt</h2> <p>Most of us are going to carry at least some debt for a chunk of our lives; after all, it's difficult to pay for a home with cold, hard cash. But excessive monthly debts mean that your finances are not as shipshape as they could be.</p> <p>It's better to buy a car in cash, upfront, than it is to pay a lease or car payment. Credit card debt that lingers for years is a huge drain on your finances. Other loans or monthly debts almost always carry interest, and that means you're continuously throwing money away. If you're living with little to no monthly debt, you have financial freedom; and that means you're no rookie. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your credit score is doing really well</h2> <p>When was the last time you checked out your credit score? It's a good idea to do it once a month, because erroneous things can creep up. Now, take a look and see where you are on the credit rating scale.</p> <p>If you're above 700, it means you're doing great. Above 750, you're doing even better. And if you are in that magic 800+ category, you are considered by all credit agencies to be one of the best customers around. This means you have low debt, you pay everything on time, and you have accounts that date back many years. This is all evidence that you are definitely not a finance rookie. Congrats! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>5. You're automatically putting money away</h2> <p>Saving money when you can is great, and you should always try and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay yourself first</a>. However, if you have automated this system, you have taken a much bigger step toward financial freedom.</p> <p>By automating payments to savings accounts, retirement accounts, and an emergency fund, you have prioritized your future. Now, saving isn't just something you do if there is money left over at the end of the month. Instead, saving comes first, and you budget with what's left. It's tougher to do it this way, and it often requires discipline. But it's the best way to go about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>6. You're not living paycheck to paycheck</h2> <p>This is a tough one. The sad state of affairs is that as many as 78 percent of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, according to a poll by CareerBuilder. Wages have stagnated, and the cost of living has risen dramatically compared to income. However, a chunk of that 78 percent are living this way due to a lack of budgeting, discipline, and overwhelming debt. Even people earning over $100,000 a year are living like this, and that's just unacceptable.</p> <p>If you don't live above your means, don't try and keep up with the Joneses, and don't make rash decisions with your money, you should be able to escape this paycheck to paycheck existence. It's not only bad for your finances, but extremely bad for your health and mental wellbeing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a>)</p> <h2>7. You have an emergency fund</h2> <p>An emergency fund is just that; a stash of money that can be used for a crisis, such as losing your job, unexpected home repairs, medical care, and even emergency travel. Ideally, this fund should cover at least six months' worth of daily living expenses for you and your family &mdash; even more if you have a high-paying job or unique living expenses such as a medical condition.</p> <p>Socking away a few months' worth of expenses can be daunting, but if you at least have a few thousand dollars put away, you're off to a great start and doing better than the majority of the population. You'll thank yourself when a financial speed bump comes along. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-start-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Minute Finance: Start an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>8. You pay all your bills on time</h2> <p>Have you ever seen people play fast and loose with their bills? They will choose to pay some one month, and others the next. But sooner or later, everyone has to pay the piper. Utilities will get shut off, debt collectors will call, and credit scores will tumble. And, it often costs even more money to put things right. If you pay all your bills on time, every month, you're doing a fantastic job with your finances.</p> <h2>9. You don't make impulse purchases</h2> <p>It takes willpower to shed the 'personal finance rookie' title, and if you are no longer throwing money at purchases without thinking, you have moved beyond that role.</p> <p>Impulse buying should not be confused with taking advantage of a sale on a needed item or even an occasional treat. If you carefully consider the purchase and decide it is one you need or deserve, that's great. The problem arises when you see a 75 percent off sticker and automatically grab the item regardless of whether or not you would ever actually use or need it. In that case, you didn't 'save' 75 percent &hellip; you wasted money on the remaining 25 percent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a>)</p> <h2>10. You have a monthly budget and stick to it</h2> <p>Perhaps the most important item on the list is a monthly budget. In fact, if you adhere to a monthly budget, most of the other habits on this list will follow naturally.</p> <p>A monthly budget is the linchpin of financial stability. It tells you exactly what money is coming in, what is going out, where it's being spent, and what you can expect to see when you look in your different accounts. By sticking to a monthly budget, you have fewer financial surprises. Even if you're not yet at the point where you can save, you are at least managing the money you have, and that will lead to financial freedom down the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-using-these-5-excuses-not-to-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Using These 5 Excuses Not to Budget</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Signs%2520You%2527re%2520No%2520Longer%2520a%2520Personal%2520Finance%2520Rookie.jpg&amp;description=10%20Signs%20You're%20No%20Longer%20a%20Personal%20Finance%20Rookie"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Signs%20You%27re%20No%20Longer%20a%20Personal%20Finance%20Rookie.jpg" alt="10 Signs You're No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie">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/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits">Your Good Credit Doesn&#039;t Mean You Have Good Money Habits</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/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-that-ll-protect-you-during-the-next-recession">7 Money Moves That’ll Protect You During the Next Recession</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance automated budgeting credit score debt emergency funds impulse buys paying bills signs tax refunds Wed, 02 May 2018 08:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 2132024 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Credit Counselor http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-a-credit-counselor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-a-credit-counselor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_calculating_accountancy_at_home.jpg" alt="Woman calculating accountancy at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're struggling with debt and don't see a light at the end of the tunnel, working with a credit counselor may be your best move. Credit counselors are trained to help you manage your debt and understand credit, cash flow, and budgeting. They will take a holistic look at your financial situation, then help you craft a plan to get out of debt and handle your money problems once and for all.</p> <p>While this may sound like exactly what you need, it's important to note that all credit counselors are not created equal. The <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0153-choosing-credit-counselor" target="_blank">Federal Trade Commission (FTC)</a> says that most reputable credit counselors work for nonprofit firms. But it warns that &quot;nonprofit&quot; status doesn't guarantee that their services are &quot;free, affordable, or even legitimate.&quot;</p> <p>Some credit counseling organizations are known for charging high fees, which they try to hide with layers of complexity. The FTC also notes that credit counselors sometimes ask for voluntary contributions to their business, even if making those contributions would put you into more debt.</p> <p>Obviously, you'll want to avoid credit counselors with high fees or shady practices. Before you choose a credit counselor, approach the situation with a list of questions to ask right away.</p> <h2>1. Is this a nonprofit credit counseling agency?</h2> <p>While this may seem like an obvious question, credit counselor Joseph Martin of Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, says this question is crucial to ask right away. Because there are many different types of debt relief organizations with similar names and very different services, you should make sure you're speaking to a credit counselor instead of a different type of business, he says.</p> <p>If you think you're speaking with a credit counselor but are instead speaking with a debt settlement company, for example, you could wind up receiving advice that doesn't help you reach your goals. Credit counselors offer budgeting and financial education services. They can also help you create a plan to get out of debt by paying off your debts, often at reduced interest rates, through a long-term debt management plan (DMP). Doing so will eventually help to rebuild your credit.</p> <p>By contrast, for-profit <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-debt-settlement-can-make-your-debt-worse?ref=internal" target="_blank">debt settlement</a> or debt relief companies focus on helping you negotiate a settlement for your debts that is less than what you owe, and this may cause your credit score to plummet. These are totally different services, and what works for one person may not work for another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>Even though &quot;nonprofit&quot; credit counselors can charge hidden fees, you'll still want to know if you're working with a nonprofit organization, says Martin. Why? &quot;The initial financial assessment, budget, and education are always free with a nonprofit,&quot; he says.</p> <p>Since a nonprofit credit counselor offers free advice that you can use even if you decide not to move forward with their services, seeking out a nonprofit is a solid first step. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Organizations That Really Can Help You With Your Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Are you accredited?</h2> <p>A smart way to weed out unethical or substandard credit counselors is to find out if the credit counseling agency belongs to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). Members of these industry associations must be accredited by the Council on Accreditation and must &quot;abide by specific guidelines, ensuring consumers receive a full, comprehensive guided session to identify individualized debt and budgeting solutions,&quot; says Martin. By choosing a credit counselor that is accredited, you'll be choosing the cream of the crop.</p> <h2>3. How much do your services cost?</h2> <p>If you're talking to an accredited nonprofit credit counseling organization, services like budgeting and receiving general financial advice should always be free. Your antenna should go up if a credit counselor wants you to pay anything for those services. &quot;If an organization won't help you because you can't afford to pay, look elsewhere for help,&quot; the FTC writes on its website.</p> <p>Entering a debt management plan will usually cost more. According to CreditCards.com, most counseling agencies collect monthly fees from people who enter DMPs &mdash; up to $50 a month. A DMP usually lasts three to five years, so that means you could end up paying as much as $1,800 to the credit counselor.</p> <p>In addition to asking what recurring fees the agency charges, you should also ask whether there is an initial setup or consulting fee, says licensed insolvency trustee Michael Krieger of Krieger &amp; Company in Toronto, Canada. If your credit counselor glosses over the topic of how they get paid, definitely dig deeper, says Krieger. Or just move on and find someone else to work with.</p> <h2>4. What services do you offer?</h2> <p>Here's another common sense question that should be asked right away. Before you decide to work with a credit counselor, make sure you know what services they offer and if they're services you actually want.</p> <p>The FTC says you should look for an organization that offers several different services &quot;including budget counseling, and savings and debt management classes.&quot; The FTC also says you should avoid organizations that only offer a debt management plan (DMP) or push a DMP without fully analyzing your situation.</p> <p>&quot;Individuals very quickly head down the wrong path from counselors and financial service providers without really looking at the value they are adding,&quot; says Krieger. &quot;Those making promises that seem too good to be true usually are, yet people latch onto those promises.&quot;</p> <p>Instead of believing promises such as, &quot;everything will be okay&quot; or &quot;we'll get you out of debt,&quot; you need to find out exactly how the counselor plans to help you achieve your goals and what services they plan to use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a>)</p> <h2>5. What is your monthly DMP dropout rate?</h2> <p>If you do decide to enter a DMP, go into it knowing that only about 25 percent of debtors complete their plans with a credit counselor, according to CreditCards.com. Another 25 percent report that they finish paying off their debts on their own. But that's hard to verify. So the question to ask a counselor whose advising a DMP is how many people drop out of the plans every month &mdash; 2 percent is low, 5 percent is high.</p> <h2>6. How will we meet?</h2> <p>Before you connect with a credit counselor, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into. Will you talk to them online using technology like Skype or Google Hangouts? Will you talk on the phone? Or will you meet in-person to go over your budget and financial situation?</p> <p>If you believe meeting someone in-person would be the most helpful, then you should seek out local credit counselors that offer this option. If not, Krieger says you should decide if you're OK working via the internet or phone where your service may feel less personal overall.</p> <h2>7. Can I get my family involved?</h2> <p>Whether you're receiving credit counseling in-person or over the phone, Krieger says it should be a family affair. This means that, ideally, you'll be able to sit down with your credit counselor and your spouse or partner to go over the family's finances and debts and how everyone can be involved in the solution.</p> <p>&quot;Money problems start at home and both are influenced by and impact the entire family,&quot; he says. To solve your money problems or get on the right track regarding budgeting or debt, you have to get all adults in the family involved or it may not work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-couple-paid-off-147k-of-debt-even-while-unemployed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Couple Paid Off $147k of Debt, Even While Unemployed</a>)</p> <h2>8. How will working with you help me in the long run?</h2> <p>The FTC says that you should ask any credit counselor you're thinking of working with how their advice will help you in the future. After all, you don't just want to get out of debt &mdash; you want to stay out of debt.</p> <p>By asking your counselor about their methods, you may gain some insight into how they can prepare you for a financial future free from the debt and financial strain you're experiencing today.</p> <p>And really, that should be the whole point. You want to get out of the mess you're in, but you should also strive to avoid more problems in the future. A nonprofit credit counselor should be able to help you with both goals, but you have to ask the right questions first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-bankruptcy-is-the-right-move?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Times When Filing for Bankruptcy Is the Right Move</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-a-credit-counselor&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Questions%2520to%2520Ask%2520Before%2520Hiring%2520a%2520Credit%2520Counselor.jpg&amp;description=8%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20Before%20Hiring%20a%20Credit%20Counselor"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20Before%20Hiring%20a%20Credit%20Counselor.jpg" alt="8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Credit Counselor" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-a-credit-counselor">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-5-best-debt-tracking-systems">The 5 Best Debt Tracking Systems</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-debt-after-divorce">What Happens to Debt After Divorce?</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/re-age-your-credit-card-debt-to-protect-your-credit-score">Re-Age Your Credit Card Debt to Protect Your Credit Score</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-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management credit counselor credit score debt management tips managing debt Paying Off Debt questions to ask Thu, 26 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 2133920 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Minute Finance: Checking Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-checking-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-minute-finance-checking-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_looking_at_her_financial_progress.jpg" alt="Young woman looking at her financial progress" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important markers of your financial wellbeing. A strong score will net you the best interest rates on car loans, a mortgage, and credit cards. A weak score can leave you struggling to get approved for financing at all.</p> <p>It's vital that you regularly check your credit score and make efforts to keep it on the up and up. Not sure how to do this? It's easy. All you need is five minutes.</p> <h2>What is your credit score?</h2> <p>You actually have several credit scores. FICO credit scores are the ones that most lenders check, but there are even several different FICO scores. The most common one that lenders use today is the FICO Score 8. VantageScore is another type of credit score that lenders use. Both FICO and VantageScore use a scale of 300 to 850.</p> <p>Each three-digit credit score that you have is generated using the information in your credit reports. They serve as a designation of your risk level, and tell lenders whether you have a history of paying your bills on time and managing your credit well. If you have a strong credit history, your score will be higher. If you have managed your finances poorly, your score will probably be low.</p> <p>In general, most lenders consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a good one. A score under 640 could make it difficult to qualify for auto or mortgage loans or earn the best credit card offers.</p> <h2>Why you should check your credit score</h2> <p>Knowing your credit score is important, especially before you plan to make any large purchases or try to qualify for financing. If your score is low, lenders might not approve you for that loan at all. If they do, they'll charge you higher interest rates to protect themselves from the increased risk they are taking on by lending to you.</p> <p>With higher interest rates, your monthly payments on mortgage, student, auto, and personal loans will be higher. Your credit cards, too, will come with higher interest rates, which will cost you if you carry a balance on them each month. If you know your score is low, you can take steps to steadily build it before you apply for new loans or credit cards.</p> <p>It's also important to keep an eye on your credit for any strange activity. If your score suddenly plummets due to a late payment you know you made on time, it's important to take steps to correct the mistake on your credit report ASAP.</p> <h2>How to check your credit score</h2> <p>You can order your FICO score from myFICO.com. Depending on how much information you request, ordering your score can cost you from $19.95 to $59.85. For $19.95, you can order your FICO score from one of the credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. For $59.85, you can order your FICO score from all three credit bureaus.</p> <p>You can also order your FICO score directly from one of the three credit bureaus. Again, you'll have to pay for this, and be careful to read the fine print. For example, Experian offers your FICO Score 8 when you order a $1 copy of your credit report &mdash; just be aware you'll be automatically enrolled in their CreditWorks credit monitoring program, and will be charged $21.95 a month if you forget to opt out. Experian also offers the option to order FICO scores from all three bureaus for $39.99. The other bureaus charge similar prices.</p> <p>Several websites, such as CreditSesame, also offer free credit scores. These scores might not always be the official FICO scores that lenders use, but they will still give you a ballpark idea of how strong or weak your credit is. Just make sure that the site you order your free scores from doesn't ask for your credit card number. If it does, you might accidentally sign up for a credit monitoring service that will charge you each month until you remember to cancel it.</p> <p>Your credit card provider might also provide you a free version of your credit score. Again, this might not be an official FICO score, but it will also give you a sense of whether you need to work on improving your credit.</p> <h2>Next steps</h2> <p>Once you know your credit score &mdash; or at least one of them &mdash; it's time to take steps to improve it. You'll have to practice sound financial habits over time to see an improvement.</p> <p>The best way to boost your score is to make all of your payments on time. If you build a long record of on-time payments, your score will gradually improve.</p> <p>At the same time, work on paying down your credit card debt. Your score will suffer if you have too much revolving debt, so work to chip away at it as best as you can. Always make more than the minimum required monthly payment. You'll never pay down your credit card debt by only paying the minimum.</p> <p>Don't close credit cards you aren't using. Closing an account will automatically boost the percentage of your available credit that you are using, which will cause your score to fall. But don't ignore your credit cards, either. Buying items with your card and immediately making your payment is a great way to build your score. Make sure you only charge what you can afford to pay back in full each month.</p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Five Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a></p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-a-good-credit-score-range?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Is a Good Credit Score and Why Is It Important?</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-for-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">Is It Worth Paying for Your Credit Score?</a></p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a></p> </li> </ul> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-minute-finance-checking-your-credit-score&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5-Minute%2520Finance_%2520Checking%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Score.jpg&amp;description=5-Minute%20Finance%3A%20Checking%20Your%20Credit%20Score"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5-Minute%20Finance_%20Checking%20Your%20Credit%20Score.jpg" alt="5-Minute Finance: Checking Your Credit Score" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-checking-your-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means 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/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report">How to Read a Credit Report</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 5 minute finance credit history credit score Equifax Experian fico free credit scores lending risk TransUnion Tue, 24 Apr 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2131789 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Fight Back Against Mortgage Discrimination http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_couple_signing_renting_contract.jpg" alt="Young couple signing renting contract" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In late February, the city of Sacramento filed a lawsuit in federal court against Wells Fargo, claiming that the lending giant has been discriminating against black and Latino mortgage borrowers since 2004. The suit says that Wells Fargo steered these clients into loans that had higher interest rates and were more expensive than the mortgages the company made available to white borrowers.</p> <p>Wells Fargo isn't the only big lender to face charges of mortgage discrimination. Last year, JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co. agreed to pay $55 million to the U.S. Department of Justice after being accused of pushing more expensive mortgage loans on minority borrowers. JPMorgan, in a statement released after reaching the settlement, denied that it had done anything wrong.</p> <p>And in February of this year, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting released a report saying that African-American and Latino homebuyers are denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than white borrowers. According to the study, black borrowers were denied mortgages at higher rates than white borrowers in 48 cities, while Latinos were denied at higher rates in 25.</p> <p>It's clear that mortgage discrimination exists and is a problem. If you're ready to apply for a mortgage loan, you might be worried that you, too, will face this discrimination, especially if you're black or Latino.</p> <p>How can you recognize mortgage discrimination? And, just as importantly, how can you fight against it?</p> <h2>Recognizing discrimination</h2> <p>The first step toward fighting back against mortgage discrimination is to recognize when it happens to you. Unfortunately, recognizing discrimination isn't always easy.</p> <p>You're not necessarily a victim of mortgage discrimination simply because you're denied a mortgage loan. But you are a victim if the reason you are denied is based on your race, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act forbids lenders from denying borrowers based on those factors. Lenders must have a financial reason for denying a loan application.</p> <p>For instance, if a lender denies your application for a mortgage because your credit score is just 500, that's not discrimination. A low FICO score means that you have a history of struggling to pay your bills and manage your credit. That's a legitimate reason to be denied a loan. But what if your score is 700? If you're denied a loan then, or if your lender recommends a loan with higher-than-market interest rates, you might be the victim of mortgage discrimination.</p> <p>There are, of course, other financial factors besides your credit score than can affect your loan application. Maybe your credit scores are solid, but you have tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt. Or maybe your monthly income is low. Both of these are also valid reasons for being denied a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denied-a-mortgage-heres-how-to-fix-it-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Denied a Mortgage? Here's How to Fix It Fast</a>)</p> <p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that there are certain signs that might indicate you are being discriminated against. If a lender quickly discourages you from applying for a loan, or if a lender who was friendly over the phone suddenly treats you with less respect when seeing you in person, that's a red flag. The bureau also warns that if lenders pressure you to sign a loan application even if you aren't happy with the fees or interest rates, you might be facing discrimination.</p> <p>If a lender eventually declines your loan request, it must give you reasons for the rejection, according to the Federal Trade Commission.</p> <h2>Fighting back</h2> <p>Fighting back against mortgage discrimination starts before you even apply for a home loan. Before you speak with lenders, check your credit reports and your credit score. You are entitled to one free copy of each of your three credit reports &ndash; from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &ndash; every year. You can request them at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>.</p> <p>Once you receive your reports, study them carefully. They will list any loans or credit card accounts you have, and how much you owe on them. They'll also list any late or missed payments that are seven years old or younger. If you see any mistakes, report them to the offending credit bureau by email or phone.</p> <p>Also, order your credit score. This isn't free, but you can order at least one version of your FICO score from either of the credit bureaus or from <a href="https://www.myfico.com/" target="_blank">myFICO.com</a>. Expect to pay about $19 per score.</p> <p>Lenders consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be very strong. Those under 620 are generally considered weak enough to result in a higher chance of rejection when applying for a loan. Lower scores will also leave you with higher interest rates on loans you do get. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <p>Once you have this background information, you'll have a better idea whether or not you are an attractive borrower. If your credit score is good and you don't have negative financial marks on your credit reports, you should be able to qualify for mortgages at lower interest rates. If your credit score is low and your credit reports are filled with past financial mistakes, those loan rejections and higher interest rates might be justified.</p> <p>If you do feel you have been discriminated against by a lender, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you file a complaint against your lender. That might persuade your lender to look into your application again. If that doesn't work, you can file a complaint with the <a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/" target="_blank">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a> and the <a href="https://www.hud.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development</a>. You can even file a lawsuit against your lender in federal court.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Fight%2520Back%2520Against%2520Mortgage%2520Discrimination.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Fight%20Back%20Against%20Mortgage%20Discrimination"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Fight%20Back%20Against%20Mortgage%20Discrimination.jpg" alt="How to Fight Back Against Mortgage Discrimination" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination">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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides 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/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</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/why-you-should-call-your-mortgage-lender-every-year">Why You Should Call Your Mortgage Lender Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off 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/6-ways-to-get-financially-fit-for-homebuying-season">6 Ways to Get Financially Fit for Homebuying Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit score equal credit opportunity act fair housing federal trade commission interest rates mortgage discrimination racism Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2128557 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Build Your Financial Self Esteem http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/we_have_managed_our_budget_so_well_this_month.jpg" alt="We have managed our budget so well this month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're struggling to make ends meet, or are crushed by debt, it's not a great feeling. It's easy to feel despondent when you can't seem to get ahead financially. But don't get discouraged! If you make the right choices, things will come together for you and your money. There are many small things you can do to make yourself feel better about your financial situation.</p> <p>Try a few of these ways to give your financial self esteem a boost. Positive things will snowball from there.</p> <h2>1. Pay off one credit card</h2> <p>You may be battling a giant monster of debt from credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and more. And you probably feel pretty cruddy about it all. But you can give yourself a little psychological boost by targeting <em>one </em>credit card and working to get that balance down to zero.</p> <p>Even if you pay off a credit card with a relatively low balance, it will make that debt pile seem a little less overwhelming. From a money-saving standpoint, it makes more sense to pay off the credit cards with the highest interest rates first. But those cards may have higher balances and take longer to pay down. Prioritizing paying off small-balance cards in full, otherwise known as the snowball method, gives you valuable momentum that encourages you to keep chipping away at other debts.</p> <p>Once you pay off that first credit card, stick it in a drawer and say, &quot;I'm done with you!&quot; You'll feel great and will be eager to tackle the next one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</a>)</p> <h2>2. Buy some shares of stock and wait a few months</h2> <p>This one won't give you an immediate self esteem boost, but it will make you feel awesome if you are patient. Select a popular stock or common index fund and buy a few shares. The size of the investment does not matter here. A few hundred dollars invested will suffice. Leave the investments alone for about three months and check the price. In most cases, you will find that the investments have risen in value since you bought them. Congratulations! You just made money as an investor and you hardly had to do anything.</p> <p>Of course, this strategy can backfire if the market takes a dive, but if that happens, just hang in there and wait a few more months. You will be rewarded for your patience and will feel a lot better about your finances. And who knows? You may fall in love with investing and start on the path to making a ton of money in the markets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a>)</p> <h2>3. Recognize that everyone has money troubles</h2> <p>I am not a big fan of schadenfreude &mdash; that is, the act of getting joy from the suffering of others &mdash; but you can feel a little bit better about your own financial problems when you realize that few people are free of money stress. Household debt is practically ubiquitous. Student loan debt is common. And no one feels like they have enough saved for retirement.</p> <p>I'm not suggesting you should feel comfortable with your bad finances, but there's no reason to beat yourself up too hard. If you have a plan to reduce debt, build your credit score, and boost your net worth over time, keep plugging away. You'll get there, and are probably doing better than you think. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-the-joneses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Money Lessons You Can Learn From the Joneses</a>)</p> <h2>4. Score some extra income</h2> <p>You may be stuck in a job that doesn't pay great and you feel like you are struggling to make ends meet. You've cut expenses, but things still don't add up. This is where you need to find creative ways to make extra money.</p> <p>There are a variety of ways to make a few extra bucks on the side that can help add to your bottom line while also potentially opening up new opportunities. It may be a freelance writing project, some homemade jewelry to sell on Etsy, or even just an occasional pet sitting gig. Even a small extra paycheck &mdash; especially if it's from work you enjoy doing &mdash; can lift your spirits and make you feel a little more in control of your financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</a>)</p> <h2>5. Walk right past your temptations</h2> <p>When I used to work in the city, I would pass a coffee shop on the way to my office. And I would frequently stop in for an overpriced Americano. I knew it was a waste of money &mdash; we had free coffee at my office! &mdash; but it was a habit. One day, I decided to challenge myself to keep on walking. I looked straight into the window of the coffee shop, but did not go in. I missed the caffeine pick-me-up, but also knew that I just saved myself $3.50. Over time, that $3.50 a day turned into hundreds of dollars saved. And I got an ego boost from staring temptation in the face and walking on.</p> <p>Successfully resisting temptation is hard, but it can feel so good over time, especially when you know you're giving yourself a financial boost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a>)</p> <h2>6. Give some money away</h2> <p>This may seem counterintuitive. How can you give away money if you are struggling financially yourself? But donating money to a cause will make you feel better about yourself in general. It's also likely that the amount you give will make a big difference to the recipient and won't ultimately impact your own finances too much in the long run.</p> <p>This is not to say you should give away money carelessly, or constantly bail out friends or relatives. You still need to take care of you. But an occasional small donation can be great for the world and give you a little charge of self esteem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get a better deal</h2> <p>Searching for bargains can be exhausting, but it can feel rewarding when you score a big one. It's a nice feeling to get $200 knocked off the price of a new refrigerator. You feel awesome when you find a gallon of milk for $1.19. And buy one, get two free on boxes of cereal? Score!</p> <p>If you can find a way to make searching for sales fun, you'll feel great when you succeed, and will feel even better knowing that your finances benefit as a result. There is one word of caution though, which is to remember that you're not really saving money if you're spending it on items you wouldn't otherwise be buying. So focus your bargain hunting on things you need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-and-extensions-find-online-deals-for-you-automatically?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These Apps and Extensions Find Online Deals for You &mdash; Automatically</a>)</p> <h2>8. Improve your credit score, even a little</h2> <p>Your credit score has an enormous impact on your finances, as it dictates how much you can borrow and at what interest rate. If you have a bad credit rating, you may feel like you're in a terrible spiral. Your credit rating is bad because of your finances, but you're having trouble improving your finances because of your credit rating.</p> <p>If you can stay focused on improving that credit rating, it will pay off. Focus hard on paying bills on time, every time. Reduce your overall debt load and don't use too much of your available credit. It will take time, but eventually you will see your credit rating creep up. Start by celebrating a 10-point increase. Throw a party when you get up above 600, and again when you're at 700. Every increase in credit rating should lift your spirits and motivate you to keep going. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Ways%2520to%2520Build%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Self%2520Esteem.jpg&amp;description=8%20Ways%20to%20Build%20Your%20Financial%20Self%20Esteem"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Ways%20to%20Build%20Your%20Financial%20Self%20Esteem.jpg" alt="8 Ways to Build Your Financial Self Esteem" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem">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/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s">The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-liabilities-that-will-ruin-your-net-worth">7 Liabilities That Will Ruin Your Net Worth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance confidence credit score debt financial literacy investing saving money self esteem spending Mon, 09 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2124240 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs You're Ready to Sell Your House http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_holding_sold_sign_for_their_new_house.jpg" alt="Couple holding sold sign for their new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This is a good time to sell a home. The National Association of Realtors reported that the median price for existing homes stood at $240,500 in January 2018, up 5.8 percent from one year earlier. At the same time, homes are selling quickly, too &mdash; the NAR reported that the average amount of time it's taking homes to sell is just 42 days.</p> <p>If you've been thinking of selling your home, this would appear to be the right time to do it. But how do you know if you are truly ready to sell? What financial and emotional steps do you need to take to get yourself and your home ready for buyers?</p> <p>Fortunately, determining if you're ready to sell isn't overly complicated. In fact, there are clear signs that you are ready to pound those &quot;For Sale&quot; signs into your front lawn. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-home-in-a-sellers-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Sell Your Home in a Seller's Market</a>)</p> <h2>1. You have equity</h2> <p>The most important sign is that you have enough equity in your home. With sufficient equity, the odds are better that you'll leave the closing table with profits in your pocket.</p> <p>Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is worth. The more equity you have, the better. If you owe $150,000 on your loan and your home is worth $250,000, you have $100,000 equity in your home.</p> <p>Determining your equity can take a bit of work. First, look at your most recent mortgage statement to see how much you owe. Next, figure out how much your home is worth today. Don't rely solely on sites such as Zillow &mdash; their estimates are often inflated. Instead, call a real estate agent and ask them to perform a market analysis. The agent will compare your home to similar ones that have sold in your area and come up with a market value. Agents shouldn't charge you for this service. They hope, after all, that you'll call them if you do decide to list your home.</p> <p>You can also hire a professional appraiser to appraise your home. This isn't free, though: You can expect to spend about $300 to $400.</p> <p>Whatever approach you take, you should get some idea of what your home is worth in today's market. If you have a significant amount of equity &mdash; enough to cover a down payment and closing costs on whatever new home you plan to buy &mdash; now might be a good time to list your property. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a>)</p> <h2>2. You have savings</h2> <p>Selling a house isn't cheap. If you want your home to look its best, you might have to hire a stager to clear out rooms and rearrange furniture. You might need to board your pets so that potential buyers won't hear Fido barking or smell Princess' kitty litter box.</p> <p>There's also the cost of applying for a new mortgage and buying a new home after selling your current residence. You'll need to pay for movers, come up with a down payment for your new home, and pay for home inspections and an appraisal. It all adds up.</p> <p>And, yes, you might be counting on the profits from your home sale to pay for most of the expenses of moving to a new house. But some bills you might have to pay before you receive your check from your home sale. So, make sure you've built up enough savings to handle the many expenses that pop up when selling.</p> <h2>3. Your credit scores are strong</h2> <p>After you sell, you'll need a solid credit history to qualify for a mortgage for your next home. A strong score also nets you lower interest rates and a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>Before you list your home, order copies of your three credit reports &mdash; one each from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; from AnnualCreditReport.com. You are entitled to a free copy of each of your reports once a year.</p> <p>Study these reports for errors. If a report lists that you missed a car payment that you know you paid on time, contact the offending credit bureau to fix the error. Fixing mistakes can cause an immediate bump in your score.</p> <p>Next, order at least one version of your credit score from one of the three credit bureaus. You will have to pay for this &mdash; about $10 to $15 &mdash; but you should know your score before you decide to sell. Lenders consider scores of 740 or higher to be particularly strong. If you have such a score, you won't struggle to qualify for a loan and you'll usually qualify for lower rates. If your credit score is low, you need to improve it before you think about selling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your home is shrinking</h2> <p>Are you growing your family? Are you running out of space for bedrooms? Does it feel like you're living in a clown car? It might be time to sell. One of the main reasons that owners sell is that they simply outgrow their current living space. If your house no longer fits the need &mdash; or size &mdash; of your family, it might be a good time to put it on the market.</p> <h2>5. You're ready to break those emotional ties</h2> <p>Selling a home is different from living in one. Your real estate agent might recommend that you remove most of your family photos. A stager might suggest that you put a favorite sofa in storage. You might get negative feedback from buyers on the paint in the kitchen and have to make changes.</p> <p>Can you handle this? Can you take criticism of your home and your style choices and make the changes necessary to sell your home quickly?</p> <p>If not, you might need to wait before selling. When you've lived a part of &mdash; or all of &mdash; your life in a certain residence, it's normal to have emotional attachments you aren't ready to part with. But if you are ready to cut those emotional ties to your home, you're ready to make the transition from living in a home to selling it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Signs%2520You%2527re%2520Ready%2520to%2520Sell%2520Your%2520House.jpg&amp;description=5%20Signs%20You're%20Ready%20to%20Sell%20Your%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Signs%20You%27re%20Ready%20to%20Sell%20Your%20House.jpg" alt="5 Signs You're Ready to Sell Your House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house">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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides 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/6-ways-to-get-financially-fit-for-homebuying-season">6 Ways to Get Financially Fit for Homebuying Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down 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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit history credit score emotional ties equity housing market profit savings selling a home Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2118489 at http://www.wisebread.com Need Business Credit? Build Your Personal Credit First http://www.wisebread.com/need-business-credit-build-your-personal-credit-first <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/need-business-credit-build-your-personal-credit-first" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/minded_woman_holding_bank_card_and_doing_shopping.jpg" alt="Minded woman holding bank card and doing shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The most exciting opportunities in a small business often arrive unexpectedly. And sometimes, taking advantage of them requires money &mdash; more than you may have at the moment. Whether you need to fill a big retail order or hire contractors to complete a professional services contract, you'll be able to act a lot more quickly if you have business credit lined up.</p> <p>Many small business owners don't realize that their personal credit plays a big role in obtaining the business credit they need until they actually apply for it. Entrepreneurs are often surprised to discover that for both <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=internal" target="_blank">small-business loans</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=internal" target="_blank">business credit cards</a>, lenders typically require a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean?ref=internal" target="_blank">personal guarantee</a>.</p> <p>It's very difficult to get credit based solely on the business's credit profile unless you run a very substantial-sized business. So how can you get business credit if you have a limited personal credit history or made mistakes with your personal credit in the past? There's really only one answer if you want to borrow at attractive interest rates. It's buffing up your personal credit.</p> <p>Fortunately, you can make a difference in your credit profile quickly if you start doing the right things today. Here are some strategies to put into action ASAP.</p> <h2>Create a wall between your business and personal finances</h2> <p>If you've been using your personal checking account to deposit payments from clients, make this the week you get serious about your finances and open a separate business checking account. To do so, your bank will probably require you to have an employer identification number (EIN), so make getting one your first step, if you don't have one already. You can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online" target="_blank">apply online for an EIN</a> from the IRS.</p> <p>Keeping a separate business bank account will help you to maintain the protections that come with your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/llcs-and-s-corps-and-c-corps-oh-my?ref=internal" target="_blank">business entity</a>, if you have set one up, safeguarding you from financial liability. It will also force you to bring valuable discipline to how you manage your business and personal finances. If you are constantly raiding your business bank account to pay personal bills or vice versa, you probably don't really know where you stand in either area. Getting clear will help you to make better financial decisions in both arenas, which should ultimately lead to better credit.</p> <h2>Know your personal credit score</h2> <p>If you have poor personal credit, it will be hard to get a business loan. Many people don't know their score, so take a few minutes to find out what yours is this week. You can buy your personal credit scores from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax), and at MyFICO.com. It usually costs less than $20.</p> <p>Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards also offer free credit scores</a> for cardholders. While each paid and free credit score will be slightly different from the one ultimately used by your business lender, they can give you a good estimate of what that score will be. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Free Credit Scores from Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <p>Your FICO credit scores &mdash; the ones used most often by lenders &mdash; reflect <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">five factors</a>, including your payment history, the amounts owed, the length of your credit history, your credit mix, and new credit (opening a lot of new cards can be considered risky behavior).</p> <p>FICO scores range from 300 to 850. If you're going after a small-business loan, most lenders want to see a FICO score of 700 or better. If yours is below that, take the time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild your credit</a> before applying for business credit.</p> <h2>Take charge of your personal debt</h2> <p>Pay down any balances on your personal credit cards as quickly as you can. It will be hard to get business credit if you are maxed out personally.</p> <p>Focus on the cards with the highest interest rates and highest credit utilization to improve your situation most quickly. (With revolving credit, lenders look at the ratio of your current balance to your available credit to come up with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>. The lower your credit utilization, the better.)</p> <p>If you have maxed out one personal card but other cards are empty, consider spreading the debt among those other cards by doing a balance transfer. Ideally, look for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR balance transfer deal</a>.</p> <h2>Limit use of your personal cards</h2> <p>If you know you'll need business credit in the next three to six months, do all you can to limit your current spending on personal credit cards, unless you're paying off the balance each month. Make sure to pay all of your credit card bills on time, as well.</p> <p>Running a business inevitably comes with financial surprises. The more work you do to keep your personal credit in shape, the easier it will be to handle the unexpected &mdash; and the more peaceful your life will be.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fneed-business-credit-build-your-personal-credit-first&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FNeed%2520Business%2520Credit_%2520Build%2520Your%2520Personal%2520Credit%2520First.jpg&amp;description=Need%20Business%20Credit%3F%20Build%20Your%20Personal%20Credit%20First"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Need%20Business%20Credit_%20Build%20Your%20Personal%20Credit%20First.jpg" alt="Need Business Credit? Build Your Personal Credit First" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/need-business-credit-build-your-personal-credit-first">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/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</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/cant-get-business-credit-consider-alternative-financing">Can&#039;t Get Business Credit? Consider Alternative Financing</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-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Entrepreneurship business credit credit score debt management personal credit small business small business tips Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2124241 at http://www.wisebread.com