Revolving vs. installment credit: Which type of credit is best for you?

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  With the economy recovering, consumers are slowly starting to gain more confidence. Many people are beginning to think about expenditures they have been holding off on as they felt less confident about the economy.  You know … getting that roof repaired that has been on the “fix it” list for a while, trading in that 10-year-old car or finally taking a “real” vacation instead of the “stay-cations” you’ve had over the past several years.     While some people will leverage their savings to fund these expenditures, others may want access to new credit.  If you are in this position and plan on applying for credit, now is the time to think through options and determine which is the best fit for your profile and needs. Here’s a few things you should do … [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...]

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Credit

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Understanding your full credit picture is usually a learning process. One category of common confusion is the why, what and how surrounding your three credit reports. If you don’t understand how all three of your credit reports affect your financial health, you might be facing some surprises next time you apply for a loan. Here are three things you should know:   #1.Your credit reports are fraternal Your credit reports aren’t identical triplets. In fact, the information on each report may vary greatly. That’s because lenders aren’t required to report to all three bureaus—or any bureaus for that matter. Plus, each bureau processes data differently, so the information reported could vary. For example, a small local lender may only report the credit obligation to one of the three … [Read more...]

Your Beginner’s Guide to Playing the Credit Card Game

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The credit card game is a little bit like a choose-your-own adventure. Do you want airline rewards? Take the path to your left. More interested in cash back? The door is behind you.  Sure you might meet some villains along the way, but there’s a treasure chest at the end.  If you act responsibly rather than impulsively, you can take advantage of some great rewards. To get you started, here’s a beginner’s play book.   Step 1: Choose your goal If you have credit card debt already, you’re best bet might be credit debt consolidation. Look for a card that has a lower interest rate than your current credit cards and that waives the balance transfer fee for the first few months. Consolidating your credit card debt can help you manage your monthly payments, save on interest rate costs … [Read more...]

Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit?

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Considering tying the knot? Congratulations! But, as any wedding couple knows, with wedding planning comes financial planning. The rings, the venue, the Pinterest-chic individualized party favors with gold flakes on them—with each addition to your perfect day comes a subtraction from your bank account.   All this spending most likely has you thinking about your financial future with your new spouse. I know how busy you are, so I’ve taken it upon myself to address the three most common questions couples ask me:   1. I don’t love my spouse’s spending habits. Should I try to teach my spouse new habits or just manage the finances myself?    One of the most important facts of life to know before you get married is that you can’t expect your spouse to … [Read more...]

The Who, Why and How Behind Your Credit Health

As a writer in the personal finance sector, I spend a lot of time reading blogs about how to improve or establish credit. The information out there is great. I’ve come across tons of articles that offer a variety of ways to improve your credit score. Reading between the lines, it’s become pretty clear to see that there is one thing that is most important above all when working on your credit. It’s not a credit card, it’s not a budget, and it’s not a plan. No, it’s a general understanding of how your credit works, and why you have a score in the first place.   Let’s Start With The Why   Credit scores didn’t just happen. There was a genuine need for a way to gauge the creditworthiness of consumers, businesses, and even entire countries. The reality is, before credit … [Read more...]

Infographic: FICO High Achievers Show You How to Get Your FICO Score Above 800

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Our studies consistently show that people with FICO® Scores over 800 have strikingly similar credit habits. We like to call these people FICO High Achievers, and you can learn from all 36 million of them. Check out this infographic and compare your credit habits to theirs. How do your credit habits measure up?   … [Read more...]

5 Factors to Consider Before Changing Jobs

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According to a report by Forbes, job-hopping is "the new normal" for an increasing number of Americans. However, labor experts agree that switching employers is never a decision to be taken lightly. It can be a major risk.   While the lure of greater opportunity, better environment, increased compensation, and change for change's sake are all compelling reasons to accept a new job, there are many variables to take into account before officially taking the plunge.   Whether you are currently fishing for available openings or are already reeling in what promises to be an excellent opportunity, ask yourself these five important questions before changing jobs:   1. How Is My Financial Footing? While money (perhaps surprisingly) is not the main reason most … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Start Getting Out of Debt

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents shares five ways to start tackling your debt now:   … [Read more...]

Good Credit Habits: The Gift that Keeps Giving

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It's everyone's favorite season! The holidays are filled with cheer, goodwill and generosity — and so much candy! You've probably spent plenty of time thinking about what to get your children, spouse, family and friends …but have you considered what to get yourself?   I'm not talking about splurging on a big-screen TV, or cute new designer shoes. It can be tempting to treat yourself to something exciting since you're already out shopping for everyone else. However, there’s one gift you can give yourself now that you’ll enjoy for years to come: the gift of developing good credit habits that will lead to a strong FICO score.   Here are just a few reasons why you should give yourself the gift of good credit habits:   -Life often throws us unexpected … [Read more...]

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