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Low Credit Score?: 6 Immediate Steps To Raise It
Posted by: Dave Landry, Jr. from Independent on Wednesday October 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM   (-07 GMT) | Comments (0)
Tags | Loans | Categories: | Debt - Credit Card, | Finance - Managing your money
Low Credit Score?: 6 Immediate Steps To Raise It

When taking out a loan, a borrower's FICO score sums up his or her reliability in the eyes of the lender. While many other factors may come into play, credit conveniently represents in a number the score of risk which a person presents when borrowing money. As a result, borrowers with lower credit scores receive less beneficial interest rates to compensate for this increased lending risk, ultimately paying more in interest.

However, there are many methods and services available online that boast the ability to boost your credit score. Although many of these options are dubious at best, find out these tried and true methods to raising your credit score as soon as possible:

1. Find and Fix Credit Report Errors:

First and foremost, get a copy of your credit report for evaluation. Typically, borrowers are entitled to one free credit check per year, although additional requests are generally inexpensive. Once you have received the report, thoroughly review it for any misrepresented figures or errors. If you find any inaccuracies, report them to your credit agency for immediate results.

2. Pay Off Any Accounts That Have Gone Into Collection:

If you have an account that has been transferred to a collections agency, you may be able to expunge the outstanding debt from your credit report by agreeing to pay the balance. Referred to as "paying for deletion" or "paying for removal," this little-known option can resolve collection debt with minimal hassle, although borrowers should always obtain an agreement in writing prior to making any commitments. Specifically, request a written contract stating that the company will delete the outstanding balance from the three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

3. Request a "Good-Will Deletion":

For those who have only had a few credit slips here and there, a good-will deletion will remove one or two minor incidents from a credit report, raising the borrower's FICO score. Only available to good credit borrowers, these requests will often be granted, provided no evidence indicates habitual lateness on payments. In other words, if you have regularly missed payments, you probably will not be granted a good-will deletion. For those who do, this deletion can rapidly raise FICO score.

4. Pay More Than the Minimum Payment:

While this may tip seem like common sense, it can be easy to fall into the habit of only paying off the minimum necessary, making the original purchase significantly more expensive as interest accrues. If you want to improve your credit, try never making just the minimum payment and make an effort to pay any outstanding balance down as soon as possible. A site like National Debt Relief can also provide information on lowering your credit score and staying out of debt.

5. Keep Your Credit Balance Low:

While credit cards often allow for a decent amount of spending considering their maximum limits, it is a fatal credit mistake to continually draw out a significant portion of this limit. Despite having this spending power available, borrowers should always maintain a credit balance that is less than 25% of the maximum allowable limit.

6. Maintain Old Lines of Credit:

When managing your credit card debt, closing a line does not make that credit history disappear. In fact, when trying to build a solid credit score, keeping open older lines of credit can be tremendously helpful. Essentially, credit reports attempt to evaluate how reliable a borrower is when making payments, and removing part of that history will make evaluation difficult. Instead, borrowers should keep these lines open and practice better payment habits to avoid credit damage. This will demonstrate a clear desire to take control of one's finances and make payments on time, sending a much more clear message than a deleted credit history.

While some of these options may provide an immediate credit boost, the most effective way to get and maintain good credit is to practice responsible payment habits. Most often, low credit scores derive from missed or late payments, and those who want to achieve high credit should avoid these delinquencies at all costs. Remember, when trying to raise your credit score, good credit is not simply given; it is earned.
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The questions raised about investment in stocks
Posted by: Leona Jones from Dotsearchmedia on Wednesday December 19, 2012 at 9:37 AM   (-08 GMT) | Comments (0)
Tags | Investing, | Stocks | Categories: | Finance - Managing your money, | Financial Markets - Stocks
The last few years have provided the USA with a rude awakening; prior to the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) problems everyone was fairly relaxed. Their real estate was rising in value and credit card companies were happy to provide all the credit needed to buy as required.

Things changed fairly dramatically and as the recession set in, many people lost your jobs unexpectedly. The balances on their credit cards were just one of the problems they faced. Once anyone defaults on a payment their credit score is damaged; their eligibility for anything other than bad credit loans is in danger.

Although there are signs of the economy moving slowly ahead again, there is still the need for extreme caution. The current impasse between the Republican House of Representatives and Obama’s Administration is still to be resolved; the fiscal ‘cliff’ is approaching quickly. Unless there is a resolution before 1st January, spending cuts and tax increases will kick in.

Experts believe that that would take the USA back into recession; more people would need those bad credit loans if that happened. Even if that is solved as it must surely be corporate figures still reflect the problems that still face the world’s economies. There are no forecasts that predict USA growth in 2013 reaching 3%, the level that can reduce the unemployment statistics to the pre CDO level and allow more people to borrow again, even bad credit loans.

With depressed demand comes static business and there is certainly a case not to invest in stocks until there are clear signs that the problems have gone. There is not necessarily a correlation between the return on stocks and a weak economy but certainly it is a time for caution. Stocks however have actually produced a 15% return this year against a 2% growth in the economy so it is a subject that requires some research.

That research has been done over a prolonged period of time. The areas of research include GDP and business profit, forecasts of growth in earnings, interest rates, Federal Debt and historical returns. The conclusion was that there was no conclusive strength in any financial research that could accurately predict the performance of stocks in the following year. The timescale of a single year’s forecast as simply just too short.

There has often been a view that coming change has been factored into the market anyway. It has happened at times with changes in government. The market movements resulting from a different Administration often begin far before a result is confirmed. Although there may be a sudden fall for a few days, it is purely a temporary phenomenon because the market has already readjusted.

There may be some stocks which suffer more than others based upon the Administration’s expected targets. Financial, energy and environmental companies each face different challenges. Financial issues of regulation can for example hit banking stocks. The increased pressure on energy companies to sign on for environmental policies remains an issue.

There might well be an argument that in an atmosphere of low expectation, it is a good time to invest. Ultimately by all means take advice but there may be a number of different viewpoints. The best route is probably one of balance; do not over extend yourself and find yourself in financial trouble; you may find your future options may be bad credit loans. There is certainly a case for looking for opportunity however.

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Emergency Fund Basics
Posted by: Alex Watson from Gold Max on Tuesday November 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM   (-08 GMT) | Comments (4)
Tags | RainyDay, | Savings | Categories: | Accounting, | Debt, | Finance - Managing your money, | Finance - Personal Investing
The personal finance blogosphere is abuzz with the topic of emergency funds and how and if you need one. Though opinions vary on what form your emergency fund should take and how big it should be, all agree that you should have some kind of financial plan for when emergencies do come. If you just want to take some basic steps toward being prepared for a rainy day, experts recommend building an emergency fund consisting of 3-6 months’ worth of expenses.

So, how does one go about creating such a fund?

First of all, start with a manageable goal, and break that goal up into smaller ones. Evaluate your circumstances and lifestyle, and determine what you would like your emergency fund to look like. Everyone should have some cash in a liquid asset such as a savings account to cover emergencies, but how much you choose to have will depend on your situation and personal preference. For example, a single person renting an apartment will probably not need as large an emergency fund as a family with a mortgage payment to cover the cost of most emergencies. Also, some people may feel comfortable with 3 months of expenses, and other may not want to settle for any less than 12 months’ worth. Thus, whether your goal is $1,000 or $10,000, set a goal and work towards it.

Second, open a new account. Shop around for the best savings rate, and keep your fund separate from your other accounts to avoid accidentally dipping into it. Some prefer to take a mixed approach, putting some of their emergency fund money into CDs and other investments with a higher return rate and keeping a smaller amount in savings accounts, which have lower rates of interest. Third, start building. Right—easier said than done, you’re thinking. There are bills to pay, after all, and pizza to eat, and Prada handbags to buy. But start now, because emergencies wait for no one. Jackie Beck on MoneyCrush.com outlines three basic strategies for getting your emergency fund started.

• Go crazy: This is a short-term strategy to get a quick start on your emergency fund goal right out of the gate, and it’s just like it sounds—you use whatever means possible to generate extra cash to put toward your emergency fund. These means might include reducing expenses (less eating out, for example), selling your gold jewelry, having a yard sale, doing odd jobs, whatever you can think of. Put every extra penny into your savings account for a short period of time, like two weeks or two months.

• Windfall: This method utilizes unexpected/extra funds to put toward your emergency stash. For example, save your tax return instead of spending it. Got some birthday money from Aunt Flo? Put it into your emergency fund. Bonus at work? Into the emergency fund it goes.

• Percentage: For this strategy, determine a percentage of each paycheck that goes toward your emergency fund. Many have reported success with treating their emergency fund as another bill and paying themselves each month just as they would the power company or the water company. Also, you can arrange direct deposit from checking to savings so you don’t have to think about it, and you can set up a payroll deduction with your employer that goes directly into your emergency fund. The automatic deposit approach helps particularly if you have trouble exercising the discipline to write a check to yourself every month.

To sum up:

Is an emergency financial plan important? Yes.

Does everyone’s emergency fund look the same? No.

Utilize strategies that work for you, and start your own emergency fund today.
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Comments

Posted by Prudence from United States posted at Monday, November 26, 2012 19:41
Comment from Prudence is -
Stellar work there everyone. I'll keep on reading.
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Posted by Lichtbringer from United States posted at Monday, November 26, 2012 15:48
Comment from Lichtbringer is -
Depending on your emergency fund (EF) needs, split beweetn the EF and the car loan. But the crux of the matter is not really how to divert your leftover savings, but how to increase those savings to erase your debt burden more quickly.Saving depends on1) Increasing Income (often less feasible).2) Decreasing Expenses (often more feasible).Most people focus on #1, and neglect #2. But most expenses can be decreased dramatically, or even eliminated. Share rent with lots of people, or live at home or in a low-cost area if possible, avoid owning cars in the near future (they suck a lot of money), eat out less, buy less (or better yet, nothing) or secondhand, don't engage in expensive sports/hobbies, no travel/tech gadgets/brand names/movies, etc. Reduce all water, power, phone, mobile + cable bills to the minimum. Analyze your biggest expenses (usually rent/car/food/leisure/bills), and find ways to cut all the financial fat. Since you'll have a lot of extra time on your hands, use it to invest in educating yourself and developing your professional talents/interests/skills so that you can achieve a higher future income potential. Go DIY don't pay others to teach you.Live poor because actually, you ARE poor. By my personal definition, if you need a job in order to feed yourself, you're poor. If you need to worry about what your boss thinks of you, you're poor. If you're in debt, you're in the hole poor. Don't be generous or ashamed you literally can't afford to be. Be generous and proud after you've saved up some $ $ $ . Extreme situations call for extreme measures. If you compare yourself to other people with lots of debt, you'll feel your situation isn't so bad, but you should be comparing yourself to people with positive net worth. I only make 18K/year now, but I save about 10,12K more than 50% savings on income. I've been doing this for many years now, so it all adds up. So despite my low income, I had my basic 1K EF in my first month. I intentionally chose to live in a lower-cost city that didn't require a car, and in the beginning I had to forego a lot of costly urban enjoyments (movies, dining, shopping, etc.). But the payoffs have been tremendous; I don't worry about money or jobs. Plus, I only work part-time now. If you can find a way to save 1K a month, you'll be well on your way. It'll only take 20 months to pay off all your debts. If you have higher income and can save 1.5K, you only need 13 months to be completely debt-free.After you pay off your debts, you should continue your hardcore saving for a couple years, (1yr =12K, 2y=24K, 3y = 36K, depends on what your long-term financial goals are), after which you can invest your savings, and your money can start working for you, instead of you always working for money. Then you can ease off on or abandon the Spartan lifestyle. If you're a guy, you might not want to though, because being a Spartan is actually pretty cool. It's good mental physical training, because it helps to cut away all the consumer materialist crap in life. Makes you focus on what's really important in life which is ironically, not the money, but yourself, your relationships, and your purpose in life. And coincidentally, all those 3 things suffer when you're working the 9-to-5 grind and spending nearly all of your hard-earned money on whatever. Best wishes to you -
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Posted by Gildas from United States posted at Monday, November 26, 2012 14:32
Comment from Gildas is -
Thanks for the insight. It binrgs light into the dark!
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Posted by Doll from United States posted at Monday, November 26, 2012 12:25
Comment from Doll is -
Your article was excellent and erudite.
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