Teaching Children to Save Early Part 1: K-4

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myFICO Kids – Making financial awareness, protection & health a part of the entire family.   Today is Teach Children to Save Day, a national program that organizes bankers who are willing to volunteer and to teach children about the importance of saving early on in life. This program has been going on since 1997 and has helped over 6 million students develop good saving habits early in life.   Saving early is essential to having a successful, debt-free life upon entering adulthood. Members of the class of 2011 graduated with an average of $26,000 in student loan debt. Had they saved or invested, I’m confident that number would be much lower. The general population believes financial education is becoming increasingly important, bordering detrimental to the … [Read more...]

Cloud Security: Keeping your information safe in the cloud

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Although we have a long ways to go to conquering outer space, we should look perhaps a bit closer to our own atmosphere and consider the following: How safe are the contents we store in the cloud?   What’s this ‘cloud’ you speak of? Good question. Cloud services are applications that are Software as a Service (SaaS) based and hosted on OPP — Other People’s Property — so that a user is not required to download and install a software package in order to use the service. All you need is the Internet browser of your choice and you’re good to go.   Millions of consumers interact and store massive amounts of personal data every day. For example, those of us who watch Netflix or use Instagram to send pictures — all that content is stored in the cloud. DropBox, a file storage … [Read more...]

myFICO Welcomes Financial Literacy Month

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While April is the official National Financial Literacy Month, we at myFICO like to think that sound financial literacy practices should be a 24/7 common practice for everyone.     And why shouldn’t it be when having a strong understanding of how to create/stick with a budget, the benefits of investing and saving, how the credit system works, how lenders evaluate applications for credit, how interest fees accrue and knowing your consumer rights can all save you thousands of dollars and loads of time.     At myFICO, we focus on that part of financial literacy related to consumer credit and encourage everyone to participate in this year’s National Financial Literacy month with the following activities:     Check your credit reports to … [Read more...]

5 Credit Spring Cleaning Tips

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After the holidays and long winter, it’s not just your house that needs a deep clean. Your credit reports, balances or savings might be looking a little dirty, too. While you’re making a checklist of things to throw out, clean or redo, we recommend adding a few credit items to the list. In the name of the season, we’ve got 5 spring cleaning tips for your credit!   1.       Check your credit reports for any errors   It’s extremely important to make sure there aren’t any errors on your credit report. An error is usually the result of a clerical typo made when processing an application, but it could also signify identity theft. Order all three of your credit reports and make sure you don’t see anything suspicious. Learn how to dispute an error on your credit reports, and … [Read more...]

Mortgage Tips: 9 Ways to Lower Your Monthly Payment

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We often hear information on how homeowners can use tactics like refinancing to lower their mortgage payments. But what about homebuyers? What tactics can you use to ensure you start out with the lowest possible mortgage payment?     Luckily, there’s quite a bit you can do as a homebuyer to keep your mortgage payments low. Here are just 9 ideas to get you started:     1. Boost your credit score     Your credit score is a big determining factor in your mortgage’s APR. And even a tiny difference in APR has a big impact on monthly payments (as well as interest paid over the life of your loan).     According to this FICO chart, average interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage range from 4.004% to 5.593% right now, … [Read more...]

Paranoid, Apathetic or Empowered:
Your Smart-Consumer Action Plan

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Protecting yourself as a consumer is pragmatic, not paranoid. I by no means encourage you to obsessively guard all traces of your personal information. If you take that approach, you’ll end up a recluse with a hoarding problem. But the reality is, how we transact has changed—we’re mobile, online and nationwide. So we’ve got to change the way we protect ourselves.   National Consumer Protection Week might be coming to end, but being a smart consumer means developing lifelong habits. That’s why we’ve provided a smart-consumer action plan. Print these tips, reference them often. Eventually, these steps should become habits so that every time you purchase, share, invest, donate or borrow, you will be better protected.   Your Smart-Consumer Action Plan   1. … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: Best of February

Let's face it, financial habits make relationships complicated. Similarly, relationships make financial habits complicated. Before you find yourself in a financial feud, learn from people who have been there. In ode to the most romantic month of the year, this month’s Word on the Web is dedicated to relationships. Check out our favorite February blogs on love and money.   How Money Can Affect People and Change Their Behavior Studies suggest money can change behavior – and not always for the better. Money Crashers writer, Jaqueline Curtis, analyzes the social pitfalls of wealth and how to detect the warning signs of money-related addictions.   10 Financial Tips for Couples Marriage and long-term partnerships create a fuzzy line between mine, yours and ours—and … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Summer Time Savings

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School is out, the temperatures are rising, and you just want to save some money away.  Well now is the best time to do it. We're halfway done with the year, so you have plenty of time to save for the holidays, pay off some cards, and unless you like to splurge on fireworks, there aren't any major spending events until the school year starts. You have a few months but you don’t have to open a lemonade stand to make additional cash this summer. Instead, take these steps to save your hard-earned dollars:   Turn off the AC! Now we’re not saying you have to turn your home into a hot box, but when you aren’t there, no reason to run up your electric bill. Last person to leave for work in the morning should set the AC to the upper 70s – like 79. And after a rain or when the … [Read more...]

Getting Started with P2P Lending

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In the current economic climate, person-to-person (P2P) lending has become rather popular. It provides alternatives for both borrowers and investors who are looking for ways to meet their financial goals.   What is P2P Lending?   These services provide a way for ordinary people to loan money to other regular folks. In most cases, it’s done through an intermediary. Two of the main P2P lending web sites are Lending Club and Prosper.   These sites facilitate the loans, which are funded in small increments of $25. Because each note is only $25, nearly anyone can afford to be a lender. And, because the amounts are small, borrowers can take advantage of thousands of potential lenders and raise money they might not otherwise qualify for.   P2P lending … [Read more...]

A Diet for Your Debt

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Are you still feeling the impact of the holidays? That extra helping of turkey or that second or third cookie might have inspired you to make a resolution about losing weight.   But that's not the only place where we could use a little trimming. Our credit might also feel bloated and overweight after a Christmas season of extra spending. And when we get that credit card statement in the mail, it feels the same as adjusting your belt buckle – not good! So if you've been making a weight-related New Year's resolution, perhaps it's time to put your credit on a much-needed diet as well.   If your credit card statements are bulging, one of the first things you should do is make a plan to pay them off as quickly as possible. After all, failing to pay off your Christmas debt … [Read more...]

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