Helping Your Teen Build Credit

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As a parent, there are many different lessons you teach your child as they progress through childhood until they make it to the age of 18. When your child becomes a teen, it’s time to start teaching them about the real world, such as how to make money, properly manage it and build credit.   Your teen should understand that borrowing money is a way of life with a few exceptions. They should also understand that borrowing money and building credit go hand-in-hand almost full-circle; one must have good credit in order to borrow, but they must first borrow in order to build credit. It’s sort of like the concept, “which came first: the chicken or the egg,” huh?   Introducing Your Teen to Plastic   While your child is in high school, it’s a great idea to set them … [Read more...]

Identity theft protection vs. credit monitoring: Which one is best?

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You have one noble goal: don’t become a victim of fraud. But what’s the best way to protect yourself? The most popular forms of protection fall into two categories: credit monitoring and identity theft protection. There’s a lot of debate about which type of service can protect you best. Here’s what you need to know about both.   Credit Monitoring One of your biggest concerns is probably how fraud and identity theft could impact your credit and thus ability to get a good loan. Credit monitoring is a great protection option, as you’ll be able to stay on top of suspicious changes to your credit reports—changes that could signify fraud.   PROS:   Most credit monitoring services scan your credit reports for changes at least weekly (FICO monitoring products … [Read more...]

5 Personal Finance Tips for Millennials

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So people keep calling you a millennial (some say it with a nicer tone than others). Amongst a variety of other defining characteristics, you have the unique (albeit unwelcomed) experience of graduating into a recession. Cons? Lower starting salaries and a lack of options. Pros? You’ve seen what irresponsible money management can do and you don’t want to make the same mistakes.     You’re also a victim of the tuition bubble, burdened with hefty student loan payments and a 30-year payoff plan that might as well be a mortgage. Now before you get out the violin, keep in mind that your generation is also relentlessly optimistic, savvy and smart, making you a force to be reckoned with in the workplace (conceal your ego though, please). If nothing else, we can assume your … [Read more...]

PII at Risk Part 2: Why Your Phone Number is Valuable to Hackers

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Last time we met, I explained why your email account is valuable to hackers—what value it has and how it could be used to gain access to more of your coveted personally identifiable information (PII) than you might think.   But it’s not just your email that hackers want; they want your phone number, too. Cell phone numbers are particularly valuable, as they have become the modern-day equivalent of your wallet. Your mobile device contains valuable information like your contacts list (a great way to get a list of your friends—future identity theft targets), affinity account and reward numbers  (frequent flyer miles have value that thieves can cash in on), web history, and other equally valuable information. Using your phone number, two tactics are then commonly deployed. Let’s see … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: June 2014

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  Ah, June. Home of the summer solstice, last days of school and the beginning of summer fun. It was also a great month for summer savings tips and budget planning. We scoured our favorite personal finance blogs looking for the best blog posts of June. Here’s what we found.       10 Simple all natural bug and mosquito repellents Maybe the worst part of summer is those relentless, blood-sucking bugs. But bug repellents can get expensive, especially if you’re constantly restocking. Plus, putting all those chemicals on your skin is more than a little disconcerting. Luckily, Wisebread has you covered. Check out these 10 natural bug and mosquito repellents for a budget-friendly and pest-free summer. Payment showdown: Race to a $0 balance Managing your … [Read more...]

5 Things to Do Before You Go House Hunting

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Looking for your first home to buy is an exciting time in anybody’s life.  It’s also a very daunting process, after all this is likely to be the biggest purchasing decision you’ll make in your entire life (no pressure). Avoid the most common mistakes made by first-home buyers with these five steps.     1. Get a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus and check for errors You can get a free copy of your report from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian once per year for free from the government endorsed site annualcreditreport.com. Before you start looking for houses it's vital you check all three of these reports for any errors. An error on your credit report could affect your chances for being approved for a loan or the rate of interest a … [Read more...]

PII at Risk Part 1: Why Your Email Account is Valuable to Hackers

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Identity is a funny thing. I used to think I knew exactly what it was made of—Social Security number, date of birth, and first and last name. Period. But then came the Internet and the notion of identity began to change and evolve along with the latest technology. Now I’m also known by my Twitter handle, Facebook name, and even my Xbox gamertag. Increasingly, in an online world, people know not only my name, but also my email address.   The miscreants of the “dark web” (anonymous, virtually untraceable global networks used by criminals) are looking for email addresses to harvest. Why? Because they make money selling consumer’s online credentials—usernames and passwords to online accounts for companies like iTunes, Groupon, dell, overstock, Walmart, BestBuy, etc[i]. These login … [Read more...]

Review: Why “My Job Chart” Is Perfect For Your Child

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myFICO Kids – Making financial awareness, protection & health a part of the entire family.   My Job Chart, a free online website, was created by a father of six with the goal of teaching his children about money management and the meaning of good work ethic. It’s designed to build organizational and computer skills, and teach responsibility and work ethic.   My Job Chart is a great program to help parents manage household chores and reward their kids for completing them. The program is essentially a free online chore chart and reward system that ties into a built-in rewards store. This program can be accessed online or via your Android or iPhone app. Parents can stick to the old paper and pen chore chart by printing out chores, or they can let their children … [Read more...]

Cash, Credit or Bitcoin—which payment option do you choose?

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While it is unlikely your local grocery store is currently accepting payment in bitcoin, you may have heard of this new emerging form of currency and may be wondering what is it; how does it work; and should you have some bitcoin stashed in your wallet?     Bitcoin is a new form of currency created in 2009 that only exists in digital format. At its core, bitcoin functions like other payment forms—you can purchase goods online or offline using your bitcoins as long as the seller accepts that form of payment. At present, not that many entities take payment in the form of bitcoin (coinmap.org is attempting to track physical locations that accept the currency), and people are likely buying bitcoins more as an investment with hopes they’ll go up in value over … [Read more...]

The real-life effects of data breaches and identity theft

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Due to what feels like a constant flow of data breach announcements, the threat of identity theft has become common knowledge. We hear of personal information being stolen or exposed, but how that stolen information is used remains somewhat of a mystery unless you’ve actually experienced it. So let’s take a minute to imagine what it would really be like to become a victim of identity theft. Here are three scenarios.   1. Your favorite store gets hacked Hundreds of businesses are affected by data breaches every year, and these data breaches can expose your personal information. The real victim is the consumers, not the businesses themselves. Only a few weeks ago EBay suffered a data breach affecting its millions of consumers. It appears the hackers didn’t get any financial … [Read more...]

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