Are you financially healthy?

are you financially healthy

Would you describe yourself or your family as being financially healthy? What exactly does that mean?   I asked several friends and colleagues how they would define someone as being “financially healthy.” While the responses varied (most notably by age or life-stage), they did have a common theme. Namely, having a steady stream of income to meet monthly expense obligations as well as having enough left over to set aside for savings or investing.   Here are some of the responses I received:   Making a lot of money Having a sizeable nest egg for retirement Having a stable job and my kids college education paid for Owning my own home Paying all my bills and having some money left over to “splurge” on myself and my family Having all my student loans … [Read more...]

Millennials are saying “no” to credit cards. They’re making a mistake.

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Recent studies by FICO and Bankrate point to a growing trend among Millennials: they're not big on credit cards. To be specific, according to credit data gathered by FICO, the number of 18 – 29-year-olds who didn’t have a single credit card doubled from 8% to 16% between 2007 and 2012. Add to that a survey conducted by Bankrate last year in which a whopping 63% of the 1,161 respondents—also 18 – 29-year-olds—said they don’t have a single credit card.   It shouldn’t come as a surprise that younger Americans are shying away from the prospect of taking on more debt. Millennials are already saddled with over $1,000,000,000,000 in student loan debt (that’s one trillion dollars for those of you who’ve never seen so many zeroes strung together). Consider, also, that they’ve been … [Read more...]

How to prepare for your 2015 taxes now

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With tax day behind us, most tax payers (about 8 out of 10 of you) are thinking of ways to spend their refunds wisely and debating between an indulgent purchase or a responsible investment. If you’re looking for a smart way to spend your refund, this article isn’t for you (although last year we covered this topic in detail). This article is for the poor, disheartened remaining tax payers who found themselves in the negative this year.   Let’s start by noting that you should absolutely not ignore paying taxes you owe to the IRS. If your taxes are not paid in a timely manner, the IRS can report the delinquent taxes to the credit bureaus. This is called a tax lien. Tax liens are considered by FICO Scores and stay on your credit reports for seven years or more, so it’s important … [Read more...]

Why the upcoming credit bureau changes are a big deal for consumers

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The three major U.S. credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax— are soon going to change the way they handle credit report errors and unpaid medical bills.   The credit bureaus maintain data on millions of U.S. borrowers—data that is used to generate your FICO® Scores—so overhauling the way disputes are handled to make fixing credit report errors easier could be good news for your scores. The new guidelines for how the bureaus will list medical debts might also have a positive impact for consumers’ FICO Scores.   The announced changes have been variously described as “huge,” “colossal,” and any other synonyms you can think of for “really, really big.” So what exactly is changing, and how will the changes affect you? Read on to find out.   What’s … [Read more...]

How to Apply for Student Loans While Minding Your Credit

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At CommonBond, we get a lot of questions from student loan applicants who are concerned about how applying for a student loan will affect their credit. The fact is, you can’t ruin your credit simply by applying – the worst that it will do is trigger a hard credit inquiry on your credit reports (more on this below) that affects your FICO® Scores in the short term. Still, there are a few ways you can manage the student loan application process wisely in order to safeguard your future scores.   1. Get as much info as you can from a lender without authorizing a hard credit inquiry   As you may know, there is an important distinction between “soft” and “hard” credit inquiries. Soft inquiries are made by businesses that check your credit report and scores even though you … [Read more...]

Interactive credit score map:
Median FICO Score 8 by state

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In the name of Financial Literacy Month, we had a little fun with some FICO Score data! While where you live is not considered in the calculation of your FICO® Scores, it's still interesting to compare FICO Score trends across the 50 states.   The median FICO® Score 8 for the entire U.S. is 713 as of October 2014 (median score means the point where 50% of the population scores above and below that score). Can you guess which states had the highest and lowest median FICO® Scores?   Check out the median FICO® Score 8 for your state on the map below and keep reading to find out which states ranked!       People in northern states in the midwest as well as New England states, on average, tend to have higher FICO® Scores – Minnesota and North … [Read more...]

9 Easy ways to Spring clean your finances

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In the midst of warm weather, new growth, yard work and deep cleaning, don’t let your finances be overlooked. Leverage that spring-cleaning feeling and take the sponge to your finances. Here are 9 ways to clean up your finances for a squeaky clean year. (For 6 more tips, head to our spring cleaning page!).       Spring cleaning tips for beginners   1. Evaluate your budget   Your budget is the foundation of your financial health, so it’s a great place to kick off your spring cleaning.  Use a spend analyzer through your bank or a third-party application to figure out where your money has been going. Or simply review your transactions from the last few months. Then compare those trends with your budget. Have you been staying on … [Read more...]

6 Ways to maximize credit card rewards

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In the credit card world, there’s really no better feeling than earning rewards for your spending. Who doesn't like getting a little bonus for purchasing everyday expenses with some plastic?   But lost in the excitement of air miles, cash back and gift cards is the fact that getting the most out of your credit card rewards requires some extra know-how and a bit of work. Want to squeeze every last drop of value out of that rewards card? Here are some tips.   1. Pick a rewards card that matches your lifestyle   Even the best of the best rewards cards will fall short for you if the rewards you’re earning are a poor fit. Not much of a traveler? Acquiring airline miles and hotel points won’t be of any use. Drive an electric car? A gas rewards card won’t do you … [Read more...]

Quiz: How well do you know FICO Scores?

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Happy credit education month! Think you know everything about FICO Scores? Now is your chance to test your FICO Score knowledge. Take this quick, fun quiz to see how well you know FICO Scores. Questions range from easy to a little more challenging, and most questions provide a detailed explanation of the answer. Quiz yourself, learn and share with your friends!     … [Read more...]

How student loans affect your FICO® Scores

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Here are some sobering statistics for anyone who recently graduated from college:   1. 70% of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree are leaving school with student-loan debt   2. The average class of 2014 graduate with student-loan debt owed $33,000—earning them the distinction of the most indebted class ever   3. 2014 graduates faced an 8.5% unemployment rate and 16.8 underemployment rate   Recent college grads are leaving school with more debt than ever and entering a job market with fewer opportunities for them to use their degrees and, in turn, pay back their loans.   It’s easy to forgive a young grad buried to the neck in student-loan debt for overlooking the impact of his loan repayment on his FICO Scores. The fact … [Read more...]

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by a credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of a credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a credit card issuer. This site may be compensated by credit card issuers mentioned on the site by such companies.