You have several credit cards and a couple of killer rewards programs. Why not put them to good use and charge every purchase that you can? It’s smart to get the most out of your credit cards, but do so within a budget and with one thought in mind – “Is a credit card the
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The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has arguably been one of the most successful programs to assist homeowners affected by the subprime mortgage crisis. According to HousingWire, almost 3.5 million homeowners have been assisted by the program, with around 1 million of those homeowners having been underwater (owing more on their home than it was
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A reverse mortgage allows you to convert the equity in your home to cash that you can use for other purposes. Essentially, you’re selling your home back to a lender in increments. It’s a popular method for seniors to supplement living expenses. Repayments don’t begin until the owner permanently moves out of the home, passes
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In September 2017, America learned about the massive data breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax that affected approximately 148 million consumers – one of the largest breaches ever. Identity thieves suddenly acquired a new batch of Social Security numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information. Consumers were advised to take steps immediately
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Zombie debt refers to old unpaid debt, declared dead and uncollectable long ago, that rises from the grave to ingest the bank accounts of the living. Who are the mad financial scientists that create this zombie debt, and how can you thwart them when it comes for you? The zombie masters, if you will, are
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What’s the benefit of having a credit card? That’s easy – it allows you to buy things with money you don’t currently have. (Of course, that may also be the biggest drawback of having a credit card, if you can’t control your spending.) All credit cards allow basic purchases, but what specific benefits draw you
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Finding a job can be a stressful and difficult task – and if you have poor credit, you may have an even harder time finding a job. A 2016 CareerBuilder study found that almost one-third of employers run credit checks on their potential hires, on the assumption that people with good credit are more likely
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The Crushing Effects Of Medical Debt How pervasive is America’s medical debt problem? According to 2017 data from the credit bureau Experian, unpaid medical debt in America topped $127 billion. New data from Consumer Reports shows that almost 30% of insured Americans had unpaid medical debt turned over to collection agencies in the past two
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We all incur debt during our lives, but will we ever become debt-free? A significant number of people say no. According to a new survey by Northwestern Mutual, 13% of Americans expect to be in debt until they die. The Depths of Debt section of Northwestern Mutual’s Planning and Progress Study 2018 contains many other
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By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm I just got off the phone with a senior couple who have a timeshare they can’t afford and don’t use any longer. They had called a company who advertised that they help people get out of timeshares. (I hear such advertisements on the radio and television
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To some of us, Halloween is an enjoyable time to dress up our children and/or ourselves, carve scary pumpkins, decorate our home with spooky effects, gorge on treats, and spend the next morning jogging off a candy binge. To others, it is a time to figure out how much candy they need to have on
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You need cash to pay an important bill, and you haven’t got it. What do you do? Many Americans turn to payday loans to fill this gap, even though the interest rates are staggering – an average of nearly 400% APR. A recent survey by CNBC Make It and Morning Consult found that all generations
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Is a home purchase on your to-do list over the next two years? You’ll have plenty of competition finding your new home, according to the latest PenFed Credit Union National Mortgage Survey. The survey found that 37% of American adults are planning to purchase a home within the next two years. Over half (52%) of
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We all like getting things for free, especially when the free items or services are valuable. Thanks to legislation that was signed in May 2018, Americans have another free service that they can use as often as they like – applying for a credit freeze. As of September 21, 2018, it no longer costs money
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Are smart appliances and systems making you feel like you are being outwitted by your home? They shouldn’t. In many cases, it is just a matter of investing the time to read through the manual and understand the capabilities of the system. For standard appliances like refrigerators, ovens, or TVs, if you do not educate
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With summer ending, the end of the year will be around before you have time to figure out whether it is better to finally take down the Christmas lights or, at this point, just leave them up. That makes it a good time to look ahead on your taxes, as well as a few other
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Parents, be careful how you act around your children. Children may listen to what you say, but they’ll be more influenced by what you do. This maxim also appears to apply to attitudes toward debt. According to a study recently released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), children have a strong tendency to
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By Roshni Chowdhry, head of customer experience at SafetyNet Of the 17 million Americans currently enrolled in college, 74 percent qualify as what we used to call “nontraditional” students: One in five is 30 years or older. About half don’t rely on their parents for money. One quarter are caring for a
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Further Rewards for Good Credit You’ve worked hard to keep your credit score high. Why shouldn’t you be rewarded for your effort? Banks agree and are looking for innovative ways to urge you to keep your credit score as high as possible. Financial institutions have always used negative reinforcement for poor credit scores – higher
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Clerks at most department stores or retailers often ask if you’d like to apply for a store credit card, pleasantly pitching special deals and perks that the credit card provides. Why not accept? How can you go wrong opening another account? When you’re tempted to accept a store card offer, think of two things –
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Miss a credit card payment, and you’ll suffer the consequences. Your credit score will drop significantly, since on-time payments are the number one factor in determining your credit score. You’ll pay late fees and possibly incur a penalty APR. Interest charges will pile up on your unpaid balance. So why do so many Americans miss
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