credit score http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8451/all en-US 3 Ways Retirees Can Build Credit http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-retirees-can-build-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-retirees-can-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/iStock-471849363.jpg" alt="Learning ways retirees can build credit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that once you reach retirement, your credit score is just one of those things you get to stop worrying about. While it's true that most retirees won't be applying for mortgages, it's not true that you don't need to maintain a decent credit score. What if you want to apply for a car loan? What about credit cards? You certainly won't get the lowest interest rates and best rewards programs possible without a good credit score to back you up.</p> <p>A low credit score can also hurt you if you want to downsize to an apartment, or even move into a senior living facility. You might need a solid credit score to qualify.</p> <h2>Why it's hard for retirees to build credit</h2> <p>According to FICO, to have a credit score, you must have at least one credit account that is at least six months old. You must also have at least one account that has been updated by a creditor or lender during the last six months.</p> <p>If you aren't paying a mortgage, paying off an auto loan, or using credit cards, you might not meet any of these requirements. This might lead to you becoming what FICO calls an &quot;unscorable,&quot; a consumer who has no credit score at all.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are ways for retirees to continue building credit. They require the same good financial habits you've been practicing before retirement.</p> <h2>Use the credit cards you have</h2> <p>You might prefer paying for items in cash. Instead, make small purchases throughout the month with your credit card. If you pay off your entire card balance each month, you'll continue to boost your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></p> <p>Make sure that you don't charge more than you can pay off by the due date. If you do, you'll be stuck paying interest.</p> <p>Never pay late. If you pay your credit card 30 days or more late, your card provider will report your payment as late to the national credit bureaus of TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This will cause your credit score to plummet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Keep unused credit card accounts open</h2> <p>You might have a credit card that you never use, but don't close it. Having open credit card accounts helps your credit score, thanks to something called 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>.</p> <p>This ratio measures your credit card balances against your total available credit limits, and it accounts for 30 percent of your score. Using too much of your available credit will cause your score to drop, while using a modest amount will help it rise. It's typically recommended that you not let debt tip this ratio beyond 30 percent. If you have a paid-off credit card that isn't getting much use, closing it will lower your overall available credit limit and your utilization ratio will then increase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>So, keep those unused cards tucked in your wallet. Having that extra credit that you're not using will provide a boost to your score.</p> <h2>Apply for a secured credit card</h2> <p>If you no longer have any credit cards, and you've become an unscorable, you can still build your credit. Your first step should be applying for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">secured credit card</a>.</p> <p>You don't need a credit score to qualify for one of these cards. Their line of credit is based on the amount of money you deposit into an account with the financial institution issuing the card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pick the Best Secured Credit Card</a>)</p> <p>If you deposit $1,000 into an account, you can then charge up to $1,000 on your secured credit card. Every time you use your secured card and pay off these charges on time, you'll get a boost to your credit score. Do this long enough, and you can build a score that's high enough to qualify for a traditional credit card.</p> <p>Again, take the same precautions you'd take with a traditional credit card. Pay your bill on time each month, and never charge more than you can afford to pay in full by your due date.</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/3-ways-retirees-can-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/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</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-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-moves-to-make-if-your-loan-gets-denied">5 Moves to Make If Your Loan Gets Denied</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-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement building credit credit score credit utilization ratio debts fico retirees Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1934072 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up for a New Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-signing-up-for-a-new-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-signing-up-for-a-new-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/iStock-534306478.jpg" alt="questions to ask before signing up for a new credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no shortage of attractive offers for new credit cards. The credit card industry is extremely competitive, and you are likely to come across advertising for new cards on television, in print, online, and even on airplanes. But as compelling as these offers can be, you still need to think carefully before applying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: What Does It Mean?</a>)</p> <p>Opening a new credit card account is an important financial decision, and you should consider these five things first.</p> <h2>1. Can you manage a new credit card account?</h2> <p>Before you even begin to consider which credit card to apply for, think about if you need a new credit card at all. If there's any chance that having a new credit card will entice you to overspend and incur debt, then it's best not to apply. (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> <p>Keep in mind, too, that each new credit card you have will generate a new statement to review each month, and another bill to pay. If your new card is from a different issuer than your other cards, then you'll need to create a new online login and you might want to download a new mobile app. Having more cards than you can keep track of increases your chances of losing them or having one stolen.</p> <h2>2. Does this credit card meet your needs?</h2> <p>Just as there are dozens of different cars made for nearly any kind of use, there are hundreds of different credit cards designed to meet every conceivable need. If you tend to carry a balance on your credit cards, then you should be looking for a card with the lowest possible interest rate.</p> <p>You could also look for a card with an interest-free promotional financing offer, to help you pay off your debt sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>If you always avoid interest charges by paying your entire statement balance in full, then you should be earning rewards for your spending in the form of points, miles, or cash back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</p> <h2>3. What interest rates and fees will you have to pay?</h2> <p>Before you apply for a credit card, you should understand all of the costs of the card. Fortunately, credit card issuers are required to prominently disclose the important rates and fees in a standardized table. Any time you see a credit card application, you can look for a link to the &quot;terms and conditions&quot; or &quot;rates and fees.&quot; There, you will find a list of fees including the annual fee, late fee, cash advance fee, balance transfer fee, and foreign transaction fees, if any. It will also show you the standard interest rate and any promotional rates for new purchases, balances transfers, and cash advances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-guide-to-evaluating-a-credit-card-with-an-annual-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Simple Guide to Evaluating a Credit Card With an Annual Fee</a>)</p> <h2>4. Do you qualify for approval?</h2> <p>There's no point in applying for a credit card if you won't be approved. First, you need to look up your credit score. Most credit card issuers now offer free access to your credit score online, and there are several websites that can also provide you with a free credit score.</p> <p>Next, you need to research the credit cards that you are applying for, and learn what kind of credit score is needed. For example, a credit card issuer's website may list each card according to the type of credit history needed, such as &quot;Average&quot; or &quot;Good.&quot; In addition, many credit card issuers will have special cards designated for people who are rebuilding their credit. Finally, you can assume that the most competitive premium rewards credit cards will only be offered to applicants with excellent credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>5. Is this the most competitive offer available?</h2> <p>It's easy to find credit card offers, but it can take some time to locate the most competitive offer for your needs. If you are looking for a card with the lowest interest rate, then you need to look at the terms and conditions of multiple cards to find the best offer. And if you are trying to earn rewards, then you need to estimate the value of the rewards you would receive from the card, based on your own personal spending habits. Finally, you also need to take into account the value of any cardholder benefits offered, and the cost of the annual fee and other fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Credit Cards With the Best Sign Up Bonus Offers</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-signing-up-for-a-new-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-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-unused-credit-cards-may-be-costing-you">How Your Unused Credit Cards May Be Costing 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/stop-making-these-5-costly-credit-card-mistakes">Stop Making These 5 Costly Credit Card Mistakes</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-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill">What to Expect When You&#039;re Expecting a Huge Credit Card Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-to-make-before-cutting-up-your-credit-card">6 Moves to Make Before Cutting Up Your Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards applications competitive offers credit card offers credit history credit score interest rates terms and conditions Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Jason Steele 1926749 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-646688660.jpg" alt="Couple learning things about a joint checking account" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Joint checking accounts offer convenient money management for many different types of relationships, including married and cohabiting couples and adult children and their parents.</p> <p>But the convenience of joint checking accounts potentially comes with a cost that families need to consider before signing up. Here are six issues you need to think through before you open a joint checking account with a spouse, a significant other, an adult child, or a parent.</p> <h2>1. There is no accountability for withdrawals</h2> <p>Generally, couples tend to open joint accounts because they are sharing a home and expenses. That means that it's in their best interests to be responsible with the money, since it will affect them both if the rent money is spent on a weekend in Vegas. However, if one person is unreliable with money, or planning to leave the relationship suddenly, a joint account can be dangerous for the other account holder.</p> <p>This issue can be more difficult when the two account holders are parent and child. Often, an adult child will request that they be added to their elderly parents' checking account to help protect dear old Mom or Dad. They can help pay bills, and make sure that there is no fraudulent activity on the account. The problem is that both account holders have every right to withdraw money from the account &mdash; which an unscrupulous adult child could take advantage of.</p> <h2>2. Joint accounts are vulnerable to the financial mistakes of both owners</h2> <p>If either account owner has unpaid debts that go into collection, the creditor has every right to use the joint account to satisfy those debts. This means you might potentially find your joint checking account completely drained in order to pay off debts you are unaware that your co-owner has run up.</p> <p>In addition, if there is a legal judgment against either account owner, the money in the joint account could be considered part of the assets awarded in the judgment. For instance, if Jane is sued because she crashed into a bus, then the assets in the joint account she holds with her elderly father are considered part of Jane's assets in terms of the lawsuit &mdash; even if the account was originally solely in Dad's name.</p> <h2>3. A joint account could hurt your credit</h2> <p>Although your spouse or child's credit rating can't ding your score, the way they handle their money can hurt your credit if you share a joint account with them. Since creditors are required to report joint account information, an account holder who struggles with debt and paying bills on time will negatively affect the co-owner's credit rating &mdash; unless and until the money behavior improves.</p> <h2>4. A joint account can affect eligibility for financial assistance</h2> <p>If either account owner needs to qualify for any kind of financial assistance, from financial aid for college to Medicaid, the money in a jointly held account is included in the eligibility calculations for the financial aid. That means you might end up forfeiting your ability to qualify for the financial assistance if your account co-owner holds more cash in the account than you would as a sole account owner.</p> <h2>5. Your co-owner can close the account without your permission</h2> <p>Certain banks require consent from both parties to close a joint checking account, but most do not. Typically, state laws dictate that any person who can write checks on the account can close it, at any time, regardless if their co-owner is present or even aware. The benefit to this is if one party relocates, passes away, or otherwise becomes incapacitated, there are very few issues the remaining co-owner must go through to close the account. The danger, however, lies in the potential for one co-owner to simply deplete the funds, close the account, and disappear. Always make sure you're sharing a checking account with someone you trust.</p> <h2>6. Parent/child joint accounts can have estate implications</h2> <p>A joint account holder retains sole control of the money in the account in the event of the co-owner's death. In the case of spouses or other cohabiting couples, this kind of financial transfer in case of death is not a problem. However, if the account owners are a parent and child, the issue is much more complicated.</p> <p>That's because the money in the checking account stays with the surviving account holder, bypassing whatever the deceased account holder may have put in their will. For instance, Loretta has three children and has specified in her will that her assets will be distributed evenly among them. But Loretta has a sizable joint account with her son Jason, and upon her death the money in that account will be solely under his control. Unless Jason feels like splitting up the money in the account three ways, his siblings are not going to see that portion of their inheritance.</p> <h2>Merge with caution</h2> <p>While joint checking accounts offer convenience to couples and parent/child relationships, they also come with a number of potential headaches. Make sure you know what you are signing up for before you and your potential co-account owner start picking out your personalized checks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About 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/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Family children credit score debts estate planning joint checking accounts marriage parents shared finances spouse withdrawals Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1927307 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do If You Have a Tax Lien On Your House http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-have-a-tax-lien-on-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-if-you-have-a-tax-lien-on-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/iStock-523154492_0.jpg" alt="Woman learning what to do with a tax lien on her house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The government doesn't play around with taxpayers who skip out on what they owe. When you ignore your federal, state, or property tax bills &mdash; and you don't make any attempts to pay the balance &mdash; the government can place a tax lien on your house.</p> <p>A tax lien is a legal claim on property for failure to pay taxes owed. It gives the tax authority (also known as the lienholder) first rights to your property over other creditors.</p> <p>A lien differs from a levy in that the government doesn't seize your house or other property. Keep in mind that a lien can become a levy at some point if you never pay your taxes or never make arrangements to satisfy the debt. The tax authority decides when to impose a levy. You'll receive written notice of the levy at least 30 days before it takes place.</p> <p>A lien is a serious matter because it can negatively affect your credit. Unpaid tax liens can remain on credit reports indefinitely, whereas paid tax liens can remain for up to seven years from the date filed.</p> <p>Of course, the best way to handle a tax lien is to avoid one in the first place. But if the damage is done, here's how to put this ugly mark behind you.</p> <h2>1. Dispute a filing error</h2> <p>It's not uncommon for mistakes to appear on credit reports. In fact, according to recent data from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, 76 percent of the 185,700 credit-reporting complaints they've received since 2011 are related to errors &mdash; including state or federal tax liens that mistakenly appeared on credit reports.</p> <p>If you check your credit report and find a lien reported in error, don't ignore this mistake. This can lower your credit score. Contact the IRS or your state tax office to file a dispute. If a review of your account proves that you don't owe the debt, the government withdraws the tax lien (as if it never happened). A withdrawal also removes the lien from your credit report.</p> <p>Thankfully, the number of tax liens reported in error should be dropping. In response to criticisms by the CFPB, the top consumer reporting agencies &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; issued a new provision. As of July 1, 2017, tax lien and civil judgment data will <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/article/clearing-misconceptions-about-new-consumer-data-laws-cm772651" target="_blank">only be included on credit reports</a> if they contain three pieces of information: the person's name, address, and Social Security number or date of birth. This information must be current according to court records as of the last 90 days.</p> <p>The association representing the credit bureaus expects half of the consumers with tax liens on their credit reports will see them removed.</p> <h2>2. Pay your tax bill in full</h2> <p>Parting with your hard-earned money isn't easy, but paying your tax bill in full is one of the fastest ways to get the government off your back and move on with your life.</p> <p>Typically, the government releases tax liens within 30 days of full payment of an outstanding debt (including penalties and interest). A release removes the lien from the property.</p> <p>Unfortunately, paid tax liens can still remain on your credit report for up to seven years. However, under the IRS's Fresh Start Program, after paying your balance in full, you can submit a request to have a federal tax lien withdrawn from your credit report before the seven-year mark. Some states also give taxpayers the option of requesting an early withdrawal of a state tax lien from their credit report once they've paid their debt in full.</p> <h2>3. Set up an installment plan</h2> <p>If you can't pay what you owe in full, set up an installment plan with the government. This lets you pay off your tax debt over time. The tax authority releases the lien once you've set up a payment plan.</p> <p>In the case of federal debt, the IRS allows individual taxpayers to set up monthly direct debit payments on debt amounts up to $50,000 for up to six years. Go to IRS.gov and apply for installment payments through the online payment system. If you owe more than $50,000, or require longer repayment terms, request installment payments by completing and mailing Collection Information Statement Form 433-A or Form 433-F.</p> <p>Taxpayers who owe less than $25,000 and who've made at least three consecutive direct debit installment payments also can request to have the lien withdrawn from their credit report. However, defaulting on an installment agreement can trigger a new tax lien.</p> <p>Some states also allow installment plans to repay a tax debt, though the criteria for these plans varies by state.</p> <h2>4. Sell the property</h2> <p>If you don't have money to pay an outstanding tax debt in full, and you can't afford an installment plan, another option is selling the property and satisfying the debt with proceeds from the sale. However, this method only works if the sale price is high enough to pay off the lien and any existing mortgages on the property. If the sale won't generate enough proceeds to pay off attached liens, you can't sell the property. If you're able to sell the home, the company handling your escrow account forwards payment to the lienholder after closing.</p> <p>Keep in mind that you'll need to contact the lienholder before closing to request a lien release. In the case of federal taxes, this involves requesting a Certificate of Discharge from the IRS. If the request is approved, this document releases (or removes) the lien from the asset being sold (though it stays in place in every other way), and allows the property to transfer to the new owner lien-free.</p> <h2>5. Refinance the property</h2> <p>Then again, maybe you don't want to sell your home. There's also the option of refinancing and borrowing cash from your home equity to satisfy a state or federal tax lien on the property. Since refinancing replaces an existing mortgage with a new loan, mortgage lenders will not approve your loan application unless they have first lien position on the title. This puts the lender in priority position to benefit from liquidation if the property goes into default. For this to happen, you'll have to request a lien subordination from the IRS or your state tax office before applying for the loan.</p> <p>Subordination doesn't eliminate a tax lien &mdash; rather, the lien becomes secondary to a lender's lien on the property. And with the lender's security interest first, you're more likely to acquire a new mortgage.</p> <p>Be aware that your ability to refinance depends on how the tax lien impacted your credit. A tax lien will reduce your credit score, and to refinance, you'll have to meet a lender's income and credit score requirements. You need a minimum credit score of 620 for a conventional loan and a minimum credit score between 500 and 580 for an FHA loan.</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/what-to-do-if-you-have-a-tax-lien-on-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-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/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-pay-your-taxes">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Pay Your Taxes</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-can-you-do-if-you-cannot-afford-to-pay-your-taxes">What can you do if you cannot afford to pay your taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-do-your-taxes-without-paying-someone-else">The Easy Way to Do Your Taxes (Without Paying Someone Else)</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-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</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/get-your-money-sooner-by-starting-2016-tax-prep-now">Get Your Money Sooner by Starting 2016 Tax Prep Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Taxes credit report credit score federal filing errors government IRS payment plans property refinancing state tax bills tax liens taxpayers Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1928274 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Steps to Getting Excellent Credit http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-excellent-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-steps-to-getting-excellent-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_tablet_618935990.jpg" alt="Woman taking steps to get excellent credit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having an excellent credit score is not as elusive as it seems. You simply must trade in your bad financial habits, no matter how innocent they seem, for these five healthy habits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=seealso">5 Best Credit Cards for People With Excellent Credit</a>)</p> <h2>1. Always pay your bills on time</h2> <p>One late payment can send your credit score spiraling. Even if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=internal">forget to pay a credit card</a> with a minuscule balance leftover, it will still negatively impact your credit score. About two years before my husband and I bought our first home, I forgot I had a Victoria's Secret credit card. The balance owed on the card was very little &mdash; less than $20. But since I forgot I owed money on it, I didn't pay the card for three months.</p> <p>Fast forward two years, and the ding from the unpaid Victoria's Secret card was keeping my credit score a few points away from being excellent. We ended up putting the home loan under just my husband's name to ensure we got the best rate. All that hassle for a forgotten credit card bill two years prior. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash?ref=seealso">Prioritize These Bills When You Are Short on Cash</a>)</p> <h2>2. Don't use all of your available credit</h2> <p>Those with excellent credit scores use less than 30 percent of their available credit. One factor considered when calculating your score is your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal">credit utilization ratio</a>. Your credit utilization ratio compares your balance to your total credit limit. If this ratio is too high, your credit score begins to suffer. For example, $2,000 of debt on a card that has a $10,000 limit looks much better to creditors that $250 of debt on a card with a limit of $500. Even though the first example owes more money, the utilization is only 20 percent, whereas the latter example is at 50 percent.</p> <p>You can lower your credit utilization ratio in two easy ways. First, calculate how much credit card debt you need to pay off in order to get your utilization ratio under 30 percent, and start making payments to get there. Second, call your credit card company and ask for a limit increase, which will in turn lower your credit utilization ratio. Most creditors would be happy to raise your spending limit, especially if you are in good standing with them. Just be sure not to increase your spending, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase?ref=seealso">4 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Credit Limit Increase</a>)</p> <h2>3. Hang on to old credit card accounts</h2> <p>Another factor considered in calculating your credit score is the age of your overall credit history. Being a card holder with one company for over a decade will look better on your account than having several new cards opened or closed within the span of several years.</p> <p>Building up a longer credit history takes time. Figure out which card or account is your oldest, and use the card periodically. For example, say you have an old card that doesn't offer you many benefits, so you rarely use it. Don't just close this old account. Instead, call them and ask if you can get an upgrade to a card that earns better rewards. This way, you can use the card periodically, earn better rewards, and still benefit from a longer account history. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>4. Monitor your score</h2> <p>If you are not already monitoring your score, then start today. You need to know where your credit score stands at least quarterly. This will help you catch any mistakes or fraud quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</a>)</p> <p>Back in college, my husband never thought to check his credit score. Every time he would apply for a credit card, he would instantly be rejected. When he finally checked his credit history, he discovered the bureau mixed up his name with his father's. His history showed that he already had a bankruptcy and foreclosure at the ripe old age of 19.</p> <p>Along with knowing your score, you also want to prevent people from running your credit unnecessarily. Car dealerships are notorious for this. Instead, get preapproved for a loan from your local credit union and refuse the dealership's request to run your credit.</p> <h2>5. Live within your means</h2> <p>The only way to live a financially responsible life, which is reflected in your credit score, is to live within your means. Pay off <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">outstanding credit card debts</a> and other high interest loans, and then commit to only charging what you can pay for in full. Build up a reliable emergency fund, contribute to a retirement plan, and invest. There are no tricks to getting excellent credit. It all comes down to being consistent with good financial habits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-the-financially-successful?ref=seealso">7 Habits of the Financially Successful</a>)</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-steps-to-getting-excellent-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-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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill">What to Expect When You&#039;re Expecting a Huge Credit Card Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bill payments credit history credit reports credit score debt good habits high interest Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1922592 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Ends Meet When You're House Poor http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-608518550.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to make ends meet when she&#039;s house poor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your home is supposed to be a source of joy, your respite from the rest of the world. But if you can barely afford your housing expenses each month, the pride of owning a home can quickly turn to dread. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>Being house poor</h2> <p>Mortgage lenders say that your total monthly debts, including your mortgage payment, should never equal more than 43 percent of your gross monthly income, your income before taxes are taken out. Financial professionals also say that your housing costs alone ideally should never exceed more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income.</p> <p>If you ignored those percentages when taking out your mortgage, or if a job loss or other financial crisis has reduced your income since you originally bought your home, you might now be feeling the financial pinch of paying for a house that simply consumes too much of your monthly income.</p> <p>Sometimes being house poor is a temporary condition. Maybe you've lost a job, but know that you can afford your home once you find a replacement. Maybe you've suffered an illness or injury that has kept you from working, but you will soon recover enough to begin earning again. Other times, it's a more permanent condition. You simply have a house that is too expensive for your income, even when that income is at its normal levels.</p> <p>If you're in the latter situation, the best decision might be to move and buy a home that is more affordable. If the house-poor problems you face are only temporary, though, you might be able to hold on until your financial situation improves.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are steps you can take if you find yourself struggling to make those housing payments each month.</p> <h2>Can a loan modification help?</h2> <p>Lenders might be willing to modify your mortgage to make it more affordable for you. Modifications might be simple and temporary, such as suspending your mortgage payments for two or three months as a way to allow you to resolve a temporary financial crisis without missing a payment. Or a modification can be more substantial: Lenders might change the terms of your loan, perhaps turning your 15-year loan into a 30-year one, leaving you with smaller monthly mortgage payments. They might also reduce your interest rate, again dropping your monthly payment.</p> <p>Lenders are not obligated to modify your mortgage loan, of course. But you won't find out if they're willing to make these changes if you don't call.</p> <h2>Refinancing might help</h2> <p>You might also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=internal" target="_blank">try to refinance</a> your existing mortgage to one with a lower rate or longer term. This will drop your payments, maybe to a level that you can more easily afford.</p> <p>Be aware, though, that refinancing isn't free. It might cost you $2,000, $3,000, or more to refinance, depending on the size of your loan &mdash; though you can usually roll these closing costs into your new loan instead of paying them upfront in one lump sum. Refinances take time, too. It can take 30 days or more for a refinance to close, so make sure you don't miss any payments during this time.</p> <h2>Cutting expenses</h2> <p>If staying in your home and reducing your monthly financial stress is a priority, then cutting expenses is a crucial step. You might not be able to lower your mortgage payment or property taxes, but you may be able to lower your utility bills. Cutting an expensive cable package or adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees can save you a substantial amount of money each month.</p> <p>Take a hard look at your budget and make the cuts. You might miss fun events and spend more time batch cooking, but it's worth it if you can keep your home. You might also take bigger steps. Is your monthly auto payment high, too? Consider selling your expensive car and buying one that comes with a smaller monthly payment.</p> <h2>Get a side gig</h2> <p>You can also boost your monthly income by taking a side job &mdash; anything from driving for a ride-sharing service like Lyft, to freelance writing, to a shift at your local grocery store. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <p>These jobs might not be glamorous, but if they boost your income each month, they can make those housing payments seem less fearsome. Again, you'll have to determine if working extra hours at a side job is worth being able to stay in your home.</p> <h2>Prioritize your home spending</h2> <p>Your mortgage is just one cost of owning a home. There's also the cost of maintenance, which financial experts say you should expect to spend about 1 percent of your home's purchase price on each year.</p> <p>You can't avoid maintenance. If you do, that dream home of yours might fall down around you. But you can prioritize your spending, something that can trim your monthly expenses. Don't spend money on a major bathroom remodel, or other purely cosmetic changes. But if your gutters need cleaning, your walls need painting, and your driveway needs sealing, do spend on those fixes, and do as much of it as possible on your own. Much of the cost in home repairs is in the labor. If you can do something safely and properly, doing it yourself will save a lot of money. Never try something that is beyond your skill and knowledge. YouTube videos can only take you so far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>Consider selling</h2> <p>If you are in danger of missing your mortgage payments, a refinance or modification isn't possible, and budget cuts won't make enough of an impact, it is time to consider selling your home.</p> <p>No one wants to give up on their home, especially if you consider it a dream residence. But it's simply not viable to think you can live 15 or more years scraping together for housing payments.</p> <p>If you want to sell quickly, a short sale might help. In a short sale, your lender allows you to sell your home for less than what you owe on your mortgage. For instance, if you owe $250,000 on your loan, your lender might approve a short sale for $225,000. By offering your home at a lower price, the hope is that it will sell at a faster pace, before you have to miss any mortgage payments.</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-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor">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/should-we-all-just-stop-paying-the-mortgage">Should We All Just Stop Paying the Mortgage?</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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</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-secrets-to-refinancing-an-underwater-mortgage">7 Secrets to Refinancing an Underwater Mortgage</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-freddie-mac-and-fannie-mae">Everything You Need to Know About Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae</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-hidden-dangers-of-refinancing-your-mortgage">3 Hidden Dangers of Refinancing Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit score foreclosure home loans house poor lenders missed payments modifications mortgage payments refinance Mon, 03 Apr 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1917875 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503389404.jpg" alt="Man paying certain bills when money is tight" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your money situation a little tight this month? It happens to the best of us. What if you don't have enough money this month to pay every bill by its due date? For the time being, you might need to prioritize your payments.</p> <p>This isn't the ideal solution. Far from it &mdash; paying any bill late could result in a late fee. But thanks to a bit of leeway when it comes to credit reporting, paying bills <em>just a bit late </em>might not hurt your all-important FICO credit score.</p> <p>This makes it a bit easier to determine which bills you absolutely <em>must</em> pay on time, and which bills you can more easily tackle after their due dates pass.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage</h2> <p>It's important to keep the roof over your head. And not paying your mortgage payment on time can send your credit score plummeting by 100 points or more. Credit scores are important: Lenders rely on them to determine if you qualify for a loan and at what interest rate.</p> <p>There is some leeway, though, with mortgage payments. First, lenders can't report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until you're at least 30 days past due. This means that paying your bill one, two, or three weeks late won't hurt your credit score.</p> <p>Second, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, lenders usually won't start the foreclosure process until three to six months after your first missed mortgage payment.</p> <p>Even though these safeguards are built in, you don't ever want to take the chance of losing your home. Make sure to pay your mortgage as soon as you can.</p> <h2>2. Rent</h2> <p>If you're renting an apartment, do everything you can to pay this bill on time. Your landlord can send you an eviction notice if you're just one day late with your rent payment. Now, actually evicting you will take time, and most landlords probably won't file a notice that quickly. But you don't want to give your landlord any excuse to start this process in motion.</p> <h2>3. Car payment</h2> <p>As with your mortgage, there is a grace period before your late car payment starts to affect your credit score. Your auto lender can't officially report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until that payment is more than 30 days past due.</p> <p>However, you need to be aware that if you stop making car payments, your vehicle can be repossessed. If this happens, your credit <em>will </em>suffer the consequences &mdash; by up to 100 points. Auto lenders can repossess your vehicle quickly, too. In fact, in most states they have the legal right to repossess your car as soon as you miss a single payment. It's unlikely that your lender will move to take your car that quickly, but why take that risk? If you're prioritizing your bills, this is definitely one to move to the top of your list.</p> <h2>4. Utility bills</h2> <p>Typically, you'll receive plenty of advance warning before your utility providers shut off your services. But you will have to pay these bills eventually to keep them on. Put these bills at the top of your priorities list.</p> <p>If you are struggling to pay these bills, don't ignore them; call the utility company. Utilities will often work with homeowners who are struggling financially. They might lower your bill for a period of time or defer your payments for a few months to allow you to rebuild your finances.</p> <h2>5. Student loans</h2> <p>Student loan debt is a financial burden for many, but you might be able to work out a new repayment plan with your lender if you are struggling. This is usually easier to do with federal student loans. You might qualify for a deferment, depending on your financial situation. But even if you are struggling to pay private student loans, call your lender. The company issuing your loans might be willing to work with you to keep you from falling into default. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>6. Credit cards</h2> <p>Yes, your credit card issuer can hit you with a late fee if you miss a payment. And yes, your card's interest rate might then soar. But credit cards don't need to be at the very top of your priorities list if you are struggling with critical bills like your mortgage.</p> <p>Your credit card provider can't throw you in jail if you miss payments, and it can't take your house or car. So paying this provider <em>after</em> making your mortgage and car payments is OK in a financial pinch.</p> <p>It typically isn't a smart move to pay only the monthly minimum on a credit card, because it's often such a small amount. However, if you're really struggling with money, this is another temporary option you can take. This will keep you current on your bill, and you can always boost your payments back up again once you've regained financial footing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">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/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">5 Financial Mistakes That Won&#039;t Hurt Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what">You Missed a Student Loan Payment. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management bills car loan credit score late fees late payments mortgage rent repossession student loans utilities Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1915858 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-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/iStock-654999932.jpg" alt="get rid of a credit card without damaging your credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It might seem like common sense to think that individuals would be rewarded (or at least not penalized) for closing a credit card. Doesn't it show good credit sense? Whether you want to close a credit card to remove the temptation of using credit you can't pay back, or you have other credit cards that offer better rewards and benefits, you may be surprised to find that closing an account may negatively affect your credit score. (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> <h2>Why a closed account dings your score</h2> <p>It's important to know why closing a card negatively affects your credit score. Here are the two main reasons.</p> <h3>Your account history is shortened</h3> <p>If you close an account that you have had for several years, then you are cutting your account history short. Closing a credit card that you have had for almost a decade will have a bigger impact on your score than closing a card you've had less than a year.</p> <h3>Your credit utilization rate changes</h3> <p>If you currently have $2,500 in credit card debt, but have three cards that give you a total $15,000 credit limit, your current <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization rate</a> is just over 16 percent. However, if you cancel one of the cards, and that card had a credit limit of $8,000, then you just decreased your overall credit line to $7,000. Your credit utilization ratio will now increase to over 35 percent. Having a credit utilization rate over 30 percent will negatively impact your credit score.</p> <h2>Ask for a card change instead of canceling</h2> <p>If you want to ditch a certain credit card due to high annual fees, you may be able to downgrade your card without canceling the account. Call the creditor and ask if you can change to a lower or zero fee card.</p> <p>Asking for a card change is also important for those who are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-the-successful-use-of-secured-credit-cards-looks-like?ref=internal" target="_blank">using a secured card</a> to boost their credit score. Some secured cards may automatically upgrade your account to an unsecured one, but not always. If your account is in good standing, the creditor should move your account to a better card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Secured Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Ask for credit limit increase on other cards</h2> <p>If you are still set on closing your credit card account, you can minimize the damage by asking for a credit limit increase from other cards you're keeping. This will prevent your credit utilization ratio from changing dramatically.</p> <h2>Close the newest cards first</h2> <p>Choose a newer card to cancel rather than an old one. This will prevent your score from dropping too much from a shortened overall account history. Don't close any accounts if you are planning to apply for loans soon. It will take your score a few months to recover. If a lender pulls your report shortly after you've closed your accounts, they'll see some account activity that may make them less likely to approve a loan, not to mention your sudden drop in score.</p> <p>Finally, be sure to monitor your credit score for a few months after you close your account to ensure everything went smoothly and no errors were reported. (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>Why not just keep the card?</h2> <p>Credit card accounts in good standing will continue to positively impact your account for many years. Unless you're paying an annual fee for a card you're no longer using, it may be just as effective if you put it away in a safe place. This way you won't risk lowering your credit score.</p> <p>However, if you do decide to close some accounts, keep these things in mind so it has a minimal impact on your score.</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/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-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-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/what-is-a-good-credit-score-range">What Is a Good Credit Score and Why Is It Important?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</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/credit-scores-across-the-country-which-third-are-you-in">Credit Scores Across the Country: Which Third are You In?</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-a-solid-credit-score-saves-you-money">How a Solid Credit Score Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-vs-fakes-are-you-getting-the-wrong-credit-score">FICO vs. Fakes: Are You Getting the Wrong Credit Score?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards closing credit cards credit bureaus credit score credit utilization ratio fico limit increase Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1917874 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Mistakes That Won't Hurt Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-623515998.jpg" alt="Learning which financial mistakes won&#039;t hurt your credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Certain financial mishaps can cost you dearly when it comes to your FICO credit score. Pay your credit card bill more than 30 days late, and your score can drop by 100 points. Declare bankruptcy or lose a home to foreclosure? Your score will fall by even more.</p> <p>In general, lenders today consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a very good score. They consider anything over 800 to be excellent. Keeping your score in these ranges requires that you pay your bills on time each month and keep your credit card debt low.</p> <p>But here's a secret about FICO scores: They don't measure all of your financial activity. It's possible to suffer a few financial setbacks, or make some money mistakes, without seeing your credit score take a dive.</p> <p>Here are five financial mishaps that, though they might cause problems in your daily life, won't hurt your credit score.</p> <h2>1. Paying your credit card bill just a little late</h2> <p>You should always <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay your credit card bills on time</a>. And ideally, you should pay off your cards in full each month. But if you miss your deadline by two days or three weeks, it won't impact your credit score.</p> <p>Your credit card provider will only report a payment as late to the three national credit bureaus &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; if you are at least 30 days late on it. As long as you pay before that 30-day deadline passes, your credit score will remain intact. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a>)</p> <p>Of course, this doesn't mean that you won't take a financial hit. Your credit card provider could raise your card's interest rate and levy a late fee &mdash; usually around $35 &mdash; against you.</p> <h2>2. Forgetting to pay your doctor's bill</h2> <p>Not all bills are equal in the eyes of your credit score. Pay your credit card or mortgage payment more than 30 days late, and you can expect your FICO score to plunge. Do the same with your doctor's or dentist's bill, and your credit score won't budge.</p> <p>That's because medical providers don't report late payments to the credit bureaus. So paying your dentist bill 40 days late won't hurt your credit score.</p> <p>Again, though, you need to be careful. Paying your medical bills late could have other financial consequences. Your medical provider might tack on additional fees to your bill if you don't pay on time. And if you put off paying that bill for too long, your medical provider might send a collections agency after you. This <em>will</em> be reported to the credit bureaus, and it will cause your credit score to fall.</p> <h2>3. Not paying your phone or utility bill on time</h2> <p>Your phone, electrical, gas, water, garbage, and cable bills are much like your medical ones: The providers of these services don't report to the credit bureaus. You can pay these bills late without suffering a hit to your credit score.</p> <p>Again, be careful. You don't want your utility company shutting off your service or sending your late bill into collections, something that will hurt your credit score.</p> <h2>4. Paying your apartment rent late (usually)</h2> <p>It used to be that apartment rent payments were never reported to the credit bureaus. Today, that is slowly beginning to change, with some services popping up that will report on-time, and late, rental payments to credit bureaus.</p> <p>But the majority of renters still don't see their monthly rent payments reported to the credit bureaus. That's bad news for renters who pay their rent on time each month; those on-time payments could boost their credit scores if they were reported. It's a better deal for those renters with a history of late payments, as these financial mistakes won't hurt their credit scores.</p> <h2>5. Losing a job</h2> <p>You might be surprised to learn that your annual income has no impact on your FICO credit score. Your credit score only tracks how well you pay your bills and manage your credit. It does not care whether you make a $1 million or $10,000 a year.</p> <p>If you lose your job and your income suddenly dips, your credit score won't budge.</p> <p>If your reduced income causes you to run up your credit card debt or start paying your bills late, though? That will hurt your credit score.</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-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills collections credit score fico financial mistakes late fees late payments utilities Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1911510 at http://www.wisebread.com Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-506317138 (1).jpg" alt="Making money moves before applying for a mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Each year, millions of people apply for a mortgage and purchase a home. This, however, shouldn't convince you that getting a home loan is a piece of cake. In reality, a mortgage is one of the hardest loans to qualify for. But if you make these money moves before meeting with a lender, you can swing the odds in your favor.</p> <h2>1. Pay off debt</h2> <p>Getting approved for a mortgage doesn't require zero debt, but the more you currently owe, the harder it can be to qualify for a desired amount.</p> <p>To avoid any roadblocks along the way, come up with a clearsighted plan to pay off as much of your debt as possible, especially <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>. A high <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> &mdash; which is your credit card balance compared to your credit limit &mdash; can lower your credit score and make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage or trigger a higher mortgage interest rate.</p> <p>As a personal goal, keep credit card balances below 30 percent of your credit limit. To attain this, stop using cards and pay more than your minimums every month. Also, ask creditors to lower your interest rate. If you can pay less interest, you'll reduce the principal faster.</p> <p>Take it a step further and make higher monthly payments on other types of debts as well, such as a car loan, student loan, etc. This is to your advantage because the less expenses you have, the easier it'll be to adjust to a mortgage payment.</p> <h2>2. Determine what you're comfortable spending</h2> <p>Your mortgage lender decides an affordable amount based on your income and existing debt. Still, it helps to have an idea of what <em>you </em>are comfortable spending on a house before meeting with a bank. Typically, banks allow borrowers to spend between 28 percent and 31 percent of their gross monthly income on a mortgage payment.</p> <p>Do the math and calculate 31 percent of your gross monthly income, and then review your budget to see if you can realistically afford this amount on a monthly basis. After determining a comfortable monthly payment, use a mortgage calculator to estimate the maximum you can borrow based on the desired payment range.</p> <h2>3. Devise a savings plan</h2> <p>Qualifying for a mortgage entails money &mdash; lots of it. Not just money for the monthly payment, but also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash for a down payment</a> (between 3.5 percent and 20 percent of the home's value), plus there's the cost of closing. These fees can run up to 5 percent of the purchase price.</p> <p>Even if you can afford a house payment at a certain price point, you'll only qualify for a particular amount if you have enough in reserves for mortgage-related fees. Let's say you want to purchase a $300,000 house. Your income may show an ability to afford the monthly payment. But if you only have $7,500 in savings for a down payment, instead of the required $10,500 (assuming you get an FHA home loan), you can't purchase the home. You then have two options &mdash; purchase a cheaper home, or postpone buying until you save additional cash.</p> <p>Once you have an idea of how much you'll spend on a property, devise a plan to save for your down payment and closing costs. Based on your amount of disposable income each month and your desired time frame for purchasing a property, decide how much to save. Keep this money in a designated high-yield savings account.</p> <h2>4. Pay your bills on time</h2> <p>There are no hard rules regarding how many late payments a lender allows within 12 or 24 months before applying for a home loan. If there are late payments on your recent credit history, it's up to your lender to calculate the risk level and determine whether you're creditworthy. To do this, some lenders request an explanation to assess whether lateness was due to irresponsibility or circumstances beyond a borrower's control. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <p>Either way, late payments in your recent history can result in a higher interest rate, which means you'll pay more for your home loan in the long run. Therefore, aim to pay all your bills on time. If you often forget due dates, set up recurring or automatic monthly payments.</p> <h2>5. Shop around for lenders</h2> <p>According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, 47 percent of homebuyers don't compare mortgage lenders when applying for a home loan. What's even more surprising, 77 percent apply to only one lender at all. It might seem convenient to get this step out of the way ASAP, but it just doesn't make smart financial sense.</p> <p>When you're ready to apply for a home loan, you need to do research and shop around. Don't just settle for the first mortgage lender who approves you. You might be eager to get the process underway, but be patient. The first person to give you the green light might not be offering the lowest interest rates (or charging the lowest fees), which could mean the difference between thousands of dollars. Maybe they're just not the right fit for you, or they don't take the time to really earn your business. You won't know unless you compare, and that step can save you a lot of stress (and money) down the line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</a>)</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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</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-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</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-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a home credit history credit score debt repayment down payments home loans mortgages saving money tax deductions Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:30:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1908934 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Credit Increase http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503776840.jpg" alt="Woman asking questions before getting a credit line increase" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling penned in by the low credit limits on your credit card? You might be able to boost your credit limit to a higher amount. Often, all it takes is a single call to your card provider. The bigger question, though, is whether you're financially prepared for a higher limit.</p> <p>Your credit card providers will always set a credit limit on your cards, the maximum amount you can borrow. If you have a short credit history or a low FICO credit score, your credit limits might be low ones, sometimes under $1,000. If you have a long credit history and high scores, your limit might be $10,000, $20,000, or more.</p> <p>How do know if you're ready for the financial responsibility of a higher credit limit? Here are some questions to ask yourself.</p> <h2>Do You Pay Your Credit Card Bill Late?</h2> <p>Do you pay your credit card bills by their due dates every single month? Or have you missed payments in the past? If it's the latter, you might want to hold off on requesting a higher credit limit.</p> <p>Paying your credit cards 30 days or more late will cause your FICO score to drop by 100 points or more. Your credit card provider will also charge you a penalty, and your card's interest rate might soar. If you have a higher credit limit and a high balance, an interest rate spike could cost you quite a bit in extra interest payments.</p> <p>Having a history of late payments will also give your credit card provider pause; the financial institution might not want to boost your limit if you don't always pay your bill on time.</p> <h2>Do You Carry a Balance on Your Card?</h2> <p>The smart way to use a credit card is to pay off your balance in full each month. This way, you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">boost your credit score</a> by making on-time payments, and you won't get hit by the high interest that is often attached to credit card debt.</p> <p>But what if you never pay your balance off in full? What if you roll your credit card debt over from month to month, watching it grow each 30 days as you do so?</p> <p>If that describes you, don't worry about increasing your credit limit. Instead, focus on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off your credit card debt</a> in full. It's easy to let this debt get out of control because it tends to grow so quickly. You don't want to waste your money paying off interest each month.</p> <p>If you think you need a higher credit limit to manage your bills, the better thing to do is to stop and assess your situation. A higher credit limit might save you for a few months, but you'll end up even worse off due to the high interest debt that you're accruing while your financial situation continues to spiral out of control. Make the tough cuts in your spending and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=internal" target="_blank">create your debt payment plan</a>.</p> <h2>Have You Maxed Out the Limits on Your Cards?</h2> <p>You never want to hit the maximum credit limit on your credit cards. If you've already done this on other credit cards, it's a sign that you need to get your spending under control, even if your credit card limits are relatively low ones.</p> <p>Asking for more credit is not the right solution to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?ref=internal" target="_blank">maxing out your credit cards</a>. The better move is to stop charging and start paying down those balances. Don't even think about asking for more credit until you pay off your credit card debt in full.</p> <p>If instead you find you're bumping into your maximum even though you're able to pay it off each month (for example, you're trying to put your regular expenses on your card that you've been paying with cash or debit but there isn't enough credit available), that would be a good case for you to make in asking for a higher limit.</p> <h2>Do You Miss Other Bill Payments?</h2> <p>Are you constantly struggling to pay your auto, mortgage, or student loans on time? If so, you might consider higher credit limits to be a solution. After all, if you can charge more purchases each month, you might free up more cash to put toward those other bills.</p> <p>This, though, is flawed thinking. If you're struggling to pay your monthly bills, you either don't make enough money, or you're spending too much. The better solution is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">draft a realistic household budget</a> showing how much money you're spending each month and how much you're earning. Armed with these numbers, you can then change your spending habits, make the move to a more affordable house or apartment, or search for a side job to bring in more income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <p>Simply asking for more wiggle room on your credit cards is not addressing your money struggles. That's trying to avoid them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 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/what-do-you-and-a-credit-card-thief-have-in-common">What Do You and a Credit Card Thief Have in Common?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance carrying a balance credit limits credit score debts increase on time payments paying bills spending Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1908842 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own <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-before-moving-out-on-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/iStock-640229364.jpg" alt="Making money moves before moving out on her own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today, it's not uncommon for young adults to continue living with their parents well into their 30s. A report released in 2015 by the Pew Research Center said that 32.1% of adults from the ages of 18 to 34 were living in their parents' home in 2014, the most common type of living arrangement for people in this age range.</p> <p>But there does come a day when it's finally time to leave the nest. And before you do that, you need to be financially healthy enough to make it on your own.</p> <p>Here are five money moves you need to make before you leave your parents' home.</p> <h2>1. Practice Paying Bills</h2> <p>Paying a mortgage or rent is an important financial responsibility, but it's not the only bill that adults face when moving out on their own. There are groceries to buy, car loans to pay off, utilities to cover, and transportation fees that eat into monthly budgets.</p> <p>To prepare for the rigors of paying these bills, you should practice being financially responsible before moving out of your parents' home. This might mean paying monthly rent to your parents while you continue to live in their home. You should also ask if you can contribute financially in other ways, perhaps by paying part of the monthly utility or garbage pickup bills.</p> <p>By paying at least some of the bills that your parents face each month, you'll get a much more accurate taste of what it's like to live on your own.</p> <h2>2. Create a Budget</h2> <p>No one enjoys making a household budget. But a budget serves as a blueprint that tells you how much you can spend each month. Without one, it's easy to run up debts as you spend more dollars than you can afford.</p> <p>Before you leave your parents' home, you need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">make a budget</a> of your own. This budget should include all the money you expect to make each month, along with a list of regular monthly expenses and bills, such as rent, utilities, transportation, phone bills, student loan payments, and car payments.</p> <p>A budget should also include guidelines for costs that vary each month. This includes everything from groceries to dining out to going to the movies.</p> <h2>3. Create an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Financial experts say that all adults should have six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund. You can then tap this fund if a financial crisis, such as a job loss, hits. An emergency fund can also be used to cover unexpected major expenses, such as the cost of replacing a car's transmission or a blown water heater.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">Starting an emergency fund</a> doesn't have to be painful. Simply set aside $100, $200, or more each month to slowly build that fund. Smart savers will have at least some money stashed in an emergency fund before they move out on their own.</p> <h2>4. Pay Off Those Debts</h2> <p>Moving out with loads of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>? That's not the smartest financial move. It can be hard to pay off this high-interest debt when you're saddled for the first time with monthly rent or mortgage payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>The smart move is to set aside as much extra money as you can to pay down your credit cards before moving. That way, you can start your independent life with a clean financial slate.</p> <h2>5. Build a Solid Credit Score</h2> <p>FICO credit scores matter today. Lenders use them to determine who qualifies for auto loans, mortgages, and other loans. Most lenders today consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a top-tier score. Scores under 640 give lenders pause.</p> <p>Before you head out, you should take steps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?ref=internal" target="_blank">build your credit score</a>. The best way to do this is to pay all your bills on time every month and to pay off as much of your credit card debt as possible. By making on-time payments on credit cards or auto loans, you'll steadily build your credit score. Then, when it's time to move, you'll be doing so with a healthy credit score attached to your name. This will help you whether you're looking for a place to rent or even getting a job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <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-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-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/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-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters</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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting credit score debt emergency funds living with parents millennials money lessons moving out young adults Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:30:40 +0000 Dan Rafter 1902840 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-479413254_0.jpg" alt="Man learning how to recognize predatory lending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Predatory lending has long been a problem for consumers. There is no exact definition of a predatory lender, but in general, these lenders either try to overcharge consumers for loans, or talk them into riskier loans that come with higher interest rates. Predatory lenders have one goal: They want to make as much money as possible on their loans, regardless of whether the loan product actually makes financial sense for the consumers.</p> <p>How, exactly, do people fall for this? It's actually not surprising when you understand the degree of manipulation predatory lenders will use. By targeting mainly elderly, low-income, or simply uninformed victims, these financial predators bank on convincing folks with poor or no credit that they have no other options for obtaining financing.</p> <p>If you don't fit the above criteria, don't think you're completely off their radar, either. Should you ever lose your job, need cash for an emergency, or suddenly find yourself facing steep medical bills, you just might be the next target of a predatory lender.</p> <p>Worried that a predatory lender might have targeted you? Here are the warning signs.</p> <h2>The Lender Wants You to Sign Now</h2> <p>Honest lenders will never pressure you to sign loan documents before you are comfortable. Legitimate lenders give you time to study the paperwork and research the fees and rates associated with the loan.</p> <p>Predatory lenders want you to sign paperwork as quickly as possible. That way, they can stick you with their high-cost loans before you have the chance to research lower-cost alternatives. Never do business with a lender who pressures you to act quickly. The odds are high that such a lender is a predator.</p> <h2>The Interest Rate Suddenly Rises</h2> <p>Predatory lenders like to entice new customers by advertising below-market interest rates on their websites or print ads. But when you actually call these lenders, you're told that you don't qualify for these low rates. Once these lenders have you on the phone, they'll try to convince you to sign up for a loan with a far higher rate.</p> <p>Don't fall for this trick. Companies that advertise interest rates that are far lower than their competitors are usually not trustworthy. The odds are high that these are predatory lenders trying to trick gullible borrowers.</p> <h2>They Tell You Not to Worry About Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Legitimate lenders rely heavily on your FICO credit score to determine if you should qualify for a loan and at what interest rate. This score tells lenders how well you've paid your bills in the past.</p> <p>Beware of lenders who say that your credit score doesn't matter or that they can approve you for a loan no matter how low your score is. Lenders who make these promises will charge you sky-high interest rates because they know that you're desperate for a loan. You're much better off working to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">improve your credit score</a> than taking out a costly high-interest-rate loan. Pay all your bills on time and pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible. Slowly, but steadily, your credit score will start to rise, and you can avoid the high rates of predatory lenders. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>The Lender Asks You to Lie</h2> <p>Making false claims about your income or debt on a loan application is a crime, and you could face significant fines if you do. Predatory lenders, though, might encourage you to inflate your income or provide other false information.</p> <p>Ignore this temptation. No legitimate lender will ask you to lie on an application. Instead, lenders will take extra steps to make sure that the information you do provide on an application is true. For instance, they'll ask you to provide copies of your most recent paycheck stubs, bank account statements, and tax returns to verify your income.</p> <h2>Your Lender Tries to Talk You Into a Riskier Loan</h2> <p>Be careful if your lender continues to push a loan that sounds risky. Maybe you want to apply for a fixed-rate loan with a term of 15 or 30 years. If your lender pressures you to instead apply for an interest-only loan with a balloon payment &mdash; or something equally as complicated or risky &mdash; walk away. Legitimate lenders will never try to talk you into a loan that you don't want.</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-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps 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/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-overdraft-protection-racket-why-banks-want-you-to-overdraw-and-how-you-can-get-your-money-back">The Overdraft Protection Racket: Why Banks Want You To Overdraw, And How You Can Get Your Money Back.</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-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">How to Avoid a &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs credit score interest rates lies loans manipulation predatory lending risk scams warning signs Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:31:34 +0000 Dan Rafter 1901334 at http://www.wisebread.com Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-472468032.jpg" alt="the age of your credit history" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A healthy credit score shouldn't be underestimated.</p> <p>This three-digit number plays a pivotal role in your financial life, including whether or not you'll qualify for auto loans, mortgages, or credit cards, and if so, what interest rates you'll pay. It can even affect your career, particularly if it's in the finance field: A brokerage firm isn't likely to hire a candidate they suspect isn't good with money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Given how much weight your credit score carries, you should do everything within your power to maintain a high score. Yet, before you can maintain a good score, you have to understand the components that make up your credit score.</p> <h2>What Makes Up Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Credit scores aren't determined by a single factor, but rather multiple factors. Once you open a credit account, your creditors report account activity to the credit bureaus on a regular basis. The bureaus compile data related to your accounts, and based on reported information, the bureaus formulate a credit score.</p> <p>It probably comes as no surprise that your payment history and the amounts you owe have a tremendous impact on your personal score. Your payment history makes up 35% of your score, while the amount you owe makes up 30% of your score. If you pay your bills on time, avoid delinquencies, and keep your balances within a reasonable range, you'll eventually build up to a solid score.</p> <p>But even when you take these measures, good credit doesn't happen overnight. Because there's another factor that contributes to your overall score: When credit bureaus formulate credit scores, they also take into account the <em>age </em>of your credit history.</p> <p>The age or length of your credit history &mdash; which makes up 15% of your credit score &mdash; doesn't have as big an impact on your score as your payment history and amounts owed. Still, you shouldn't downplay the importance of credit age.</p> <h2>How Credit Age Relates to Credit Risk</h2> <p>Most of us rely on credit for an auto loan, a house, and a credit card. Even so, being a creditor is risky business, and banks don't arbitrarily approve credit applications. They consider several factors before approving financing, such as your income and your credit score. Even if you have adequate income and pay your bills on time, the bank might reject your application if you don't meet the minimum credit score requirement for a loan. This can happen if you have a young credit history. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-credit-and-how-to-build-it-from-scratch?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Credit From Scratch</a>)</p> <p>The age of credit history affects overall scores because a longer history provides a better assessment of risk level. Credit age takes two elements into consideration: the age of your oldest account, and the average age of all your accounts. The longer accounts remain open, the more your credit matures. And as your credit matures, credit scoring models slowly add points to your score.</p> <p>To illustrate, if you've had a credit history for the past six years with no negative activity appearing on your credit report, credit bureaus evaluate your entire borrowing pattern, and based on your history and record, deem you a responsible borrower. This is a fairly accurate assessment given the length of credit history. As a responsible borrower, you're rewarded with additional credit score points.</p> <p>But let's say you've only had a credit file for six months or a year. Given your short credit history, credit bureaus can't accurately rate creditworthiness. Despite paying your bills on time, you don't have a long borrowing track record. There just isn't enough evidence to gauge how well you manage credit &mdash; this happens with time. You have a short credit history, and unfortunately, your credit score pays the price. The good news, however, is that this is a temporary problem.</p> <h2>What Can You Do?</h2> <p>Credit scores range from 300 to 850. If you're aiming for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">perfect credit score</a>, understand that it takes years of responsible credit habits to achieve. It doesn't matter how well you manage your credit accounts in the first one or two years, you probably won't have as high of a credit score as someone who's had A+ credit for eight or nine years &mdash; but you can get there.</p> <p>Remember, your payment history and the amount you owe make up 35% and 30% of your credit score, respectively. So while your credit score might be low due to a short credit history today, keeping your credit card balances low and making timely monthly payments will gradually increase your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <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/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</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-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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance age credit bureaus credit history credit score interest rates loans on time payments risk Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:01:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1901331 at http://www.wisebread.com Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-170955646.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An all-cash diet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: You pay cash for all of your daily expenses. The idea is that it makes you more conscious of your spending than if you use debit or credit cards. But an all-cash diet isn't necessarily right for everyone. Let's go over how this budgeting strategy might work for you.</p> <h2>How Does It Work?</h2> <p>Once you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">created a budget</a>, you need to determine how much income you have left every month after you've paid your fixed expenses, such as rent, utilities, debt payments, and insurance. This is the amount of money you can use for things like groceries, gas, and other day-to-day expenses during the month. You can then withdraw this amount in cash to spend on these expenses over the next four weeks. It's important that you allocate your cash properly so that you don't end up spending it all in one category at one time.</p> <p>To make it easy, consider splitting up your monthly allotment into four envelopes, one for each week. You may not spend all of the money in the envelope each week. For example, maybe you didn't drive much that week, and didn't need to stop for gas. In that case, more surplus means more for your savings.</p> <p>If you are worried about leaving that much cash in your home, then just make a trip to your ATM on the same day every week to withdraw the money for your weekly spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Comprehensive Guide to the Envelope System</a>)</p> <h2>The Benefits</h2> <p>The ultimate goal of this lifestyle change is to have cash left over at the end of the month, which you can use to pay off debt or devote to savings and investments. There is a range of short- and long-term benefits associated with the strategy, too.</p> <h3>1. Helps You Cut Spending</h3> <p>Multiple studies have shown that people spend more when they use a credit card than when they <a href="http://web.mit.edu/simester/Public/Papers/Alwaysleavehome.pdf" target="_blank">pay with cash</a>. That's because when you use cash, you have a better feeling for just how much you're spending than when you use so-called invisible money (debit or credit cards).</p> <p>By physically handing over cash for your purchases, you see the money leave your possession. Hence, you're much more likely to consider on the spot if the purchase is really worth it. Alternatively, when you use a card, you don't really feel the effect of a purchase until later, when you receive your credit card bill or see the transaction online. That can make it easier to overspend with plastic.</p> <p>If you regularly go over your monthly budget and can't seem to figure out why, then switching to an all-cash diet can quickly help you pinpoint exactly where your money's going. Using cash can encourage you to only buy what you really need and avoid impulse purchases. This is especially helpful if you tend to go on shopping sprees and overspend when you're stressed, upset, or anxious.</p> <h3>2. Reduces Some Fraud and Charging Errors</h3> <p>Using cash also reduces the chance of accidental overcharging, or worse, fraud by retail and restaurant staff. Stores and restaurants do occasionally unintentionally double charge your card, and wait staff have been known to steal credit card data. It is usually not until we get home or are balancing our checkbooks later that we realize the error or fraud, and by then it can be difficult to correct. Alternatively, using cash ensures that you're never in that situation.</p> <h3>3. Streamlines Store Returns</h3> <p>When you're making a return with a card, you usually need to have the exact card that you paid with. On the other hand, if you paid with cash, you can quickly get the refund in cash.</p> <h3>4. Reduces Overdraft Fees</h3> <p>If you're prone to accidentally overspending on your debit card and then having to deal with overdraft fees, an all-cash diet may help you. You <em>can </em>still overdraw your account by taking too much money out at the ATM, but you're less likely to do that by mistake, especially if you only take out a certain amount every week. Over time, you can save quite a bit on what would have otherwise been wasted on overdraft fees.</p> <h2>When to Use Credit Cards</h2> <p>Even if you decide to stick to an all-cash diet indefinitely, there are some times to make exceptions and use credit cards. This is a particularly true if you're trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">improve your credit score, </a>since using credit cards responsibly is an easy way to build credit. But you don't have to charge a lot to get the credit score benefit (in fact, it's better if you keep your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization</a> low), so you could still use cash for out-of-pocket expenses and charge one or two monthly expenses, such as your Internet and electricity bills, to your credit card. Just make sure you pay those charges off in full and on time every month.</p> <p>In fact, even if your credit score is good, you may want to keep at least one credit card open and active to help maintain your score, especially if you don't have a mortgage or other loans you're paying. It's also good to have a credit card on hand for online purchases (credit cards are safer than debit for web shopping), car rentals, and for emergencies. To keep the account open you'll need to continue using it occasionally. Again, a good way to do this is by charging a monthly expense to your credit card and paying it off in full.</p> <p>If you're racking up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">frequent flyer miles</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> on a particular credit card, then you may still want to use that card for certain purchases. For example, if you earn extra points for travel expenses, then you may want to continue using your card for these types of purchases. You can also use a rewards credit card for large purchases. Not only is it safer than carrying around large amounts of cash, you'll also earn a big bunch of points for that expensive purchase.</p> <p>Some credit cards also offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">additional benefits</a>, such as free travel insurance and rental car insurance. If you need these services, then it's better to use a credit card that offers them for free than to pay extra for them with cash.</p> <h2>Give It a Try</h2> <p>You don't have to devote your life to the all-cash diet right away. Consider just trying it for two to three months to see how much you can save.</p> <p>If you find that you're running out of cash midweek or are still regularly reaching for your credit cards, you may want to re-evaluate your spending habits altogether. Even if you find that the all-cash diet is not right for you, it can help you get a better handle on how much you're spending and how to improve your budget.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</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-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash diet credit score Envelope system expenses overdraft fees overspending paying in cash saving money Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1902771 at http://www.wisebread.com