Alternative Ways to Tackle Debt

Nobody wants to be in debt, but if you find yourself in a bind you will need a solution to your financial problems bad credit loans are readily available to folks nowadays. Yet, many people still believe that if you have poor or bad credit, you will not qualify for loans. This is simply not true. Bad credit loans are a huge secondary market operating alongside the traditional banking sector, and are typically offered by non-bank lenders. Depending on your credit score, the estimated APR (annual percentage rate) of your loan will vary.

It is possible to qualify for a loan between $250 and $5,000, even if you have a shoddy credit score. The loan terms range from 1 year through 3 years, and your monthly repayments will vary according to the estimated APRs. If a lender deems you to be a risky borrower, the lender may increase the estimated APR to safeguard the line of credit.

Getting Out of Debt is a Process that Begins with Building up Credibility

Bad credit, like all credit, is represented by a 3-digit number. Traditional FICO (Fair Isaac
Corporation) scoring systems are used by some 90% of lenders in the world. The FICO score determines whether you get approved for a loan or not, the interest rate, and the terms of your loan. The FICO credit score continuum ranges from 300 on the low end to 850 on the high-end.

As you move towards either end, your prospects for loans change dramatically. For example, a person with an extremely low credit score (poor or bad credit) is typically slapped with more denials, higher interest rates, and less favorable terms and conditions for lines of credit. If your credit score is 750+, you get better interest rates, more flexibility, and access to the best lines of credit.

Credit scores are simply numbers that provide a snapshot of a customer’s credit worthiness. It considers your payment history over time, your credit utilization, the number of new accounts you have opened recently, the age of your oldest account, etc. Fortunately, credit bureaus and reporting agencies provide reasons for your credit score. Be advised that these reasons typically highlight negative factors such as too many new accounts being opened, too many account queries, too much credit utilization, untimely payments etc.

There are 3 major credit bureaus in the US, including Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. As a customer, you are entitled to 1 free credit report from each of these credit bureaus every year. While your scores may vary from one credit bureau to the next, they are typically within a tight range. As you show yourself to be fiscally responsible, your credit score will improve over time.

If You Need a Loan, Be Sure that You’re Applying for the Best Terms

Applying for personal loans is always easy, regardless of your credit score. For starters, the
process is 100% free, secure and fast. Getting approved for a personal loan is a different story entirely. Depending on your credit score, you could apply for a personal loan between $250 and $5,000 by visiting individual loan providers or using a credit loan aggregator platform. Applications for personal loans are really easy to make. You simply enter the state you live in, the amount of money would like to borrow, a few biographic details (name, last name, email, zip etc., and continue through the application process.

If your credit score is low, you will still receive offers from various loan providers, but they may be a little less favorable. The interest rates (APRs) move higher as your credit score decreases, and move lower when your credit score is high. Nonetheless, there are other factors that are not reflected on your credit score, notably your income and the length of employment.

Certain lenders will view credit scores differently. For example, one lender may have a minimum approval score of 700+, while another will accept people with credit scores of 650+. Fortunately, credit aggregator platforms allow you to pick and choose from a list of lenders, even if you have bad credit. Not all debt is bad; some debt like college tuition and mortgages are good debt. Evaluate your needs first and ensure that you understand what type of debt dilemma you’re facing. You may find that qualifying for a loan actually helps you over the long-term!

Posted in Debt | Leave a comment

Key Tips for Getting the Best Refinance Deal for Your Home

While most people don’t enjoy having to spend the time and effort that’s required to get a home loan, it is important to remember you don’t have to stick with the same mortgage forever. In fact, while you may groan at the thought of having to go through the process again, refinancing your mortgage can often be a good idea for numerous reasons. For example, you can get a better interest rate, reduce your account fees, get access to additional funds to draw out if your property value has increased, and more. Read on for some key tips you can follow to get the best refinance deal for your home today.

Ensure Your Paperwork Is in Order

Before you even think about applying for a refinancing deal, make sure all the necessary paperwork involved with the process of applying for a new loan is in order. There are numerous documents you want to have up-to-date. For instance, it is typically necessary to have your last few years’ worth of tax returns on hand so that lenders can see proof of your income and expenses history, and your likely borrowing capacity.

You will usually also need to have documentation to prove your current income level, whether through working in a job or being self-employed. Get together your last 30 days or more of pay stubs or trading history (including balance sheets, tax returns, profit-and-loss statements, and the like) for your business.

Another thing to organize in advance is a list of your assets and liabilities and the various paperwork that goes with them. For example, have a file covering credit card statements, student loans, your current mortgage, any other property or business loans, car loans, and the like; as well as details on assets you own and their current values, such as stocks, bonds, savings accounts, mutual funds, other real estate, art, retirement accounts, and businesses.

Check Your Current Credit Rating

Another good thing to do before you look to refinance a home mortgage is to check your credit rating. You can do this for free online or pay a company who specializes in the service to provide you with a comprehensive report. While lenders will look into this themselves when you apply for a new loan, it helps to look at this information up-front so that you know your financial position.

After all, if your credit score isn’t as high as you thought, there may be no point applying for a refinancing arrangement until you have worked on getting your rating up. Unfortunately, a bad result can disqualify you from being given a new loan, or mean that you have to pay a much higher interest rate.

Keep in mind that sometimes financial misunderstandings or mistakes have occurred which isn’t your fault and which can be easily fixed to improve your rating. Alternatively, you might have an outstanding payment due that you have simply forgotten about, that is affecting your score. The sooner you know your position the better, so you can do something to improve it if need be.

No matter how your credit score is looking, if you go about paying off as many debts as possible before applying for refinancing, this will help you get a better deal. It will improve your debt ratio and not only make it more likely that you’ll be approved for a new loan, but also that you will be offered better terms (such as a lower interest rate and less expensive application fees) from lenders.

Check the Fine Print on Your Current Home Loan

Another refinancing preparation step to take is to go over the fine print on your current home loan. You need to check the paperwork to see what prepayment penalties may apply if you go about paying out your loan early. The types of charges leveled by lenders in this area can vary enormously, so don’t just assume what might be involved. While some penalties stay the same no matter when you payout your loan, others can lessen over time, or be dispensed with completely. If you have to wait another six months to avoid having to pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees, it may be worth considering holding off on your refinancing plans.

Alternatively, if you will face costs regardless, or if the fees will be charged for the next few years and you don’t want to wait that long, sit down and work out the numbers. How much money could you potentially save by refinancing to a lower interest rate, and is this more than the prepayment penalty that you will have to pay to close your current mortgage now?

If you do have costs to factor in, talk to your new lender to see if they can reduce their application fees or interest rate somewhat. Negotiation is particularly feasible if you have a top credit rating and are organized when you approach lenders.

Posted in Debt, Housing | Leave a comment

Looking for a Writer

If you’ve been following Personal Finance Advice, you know that we like to encourage our readers to also contribute to our blog. The PFA team is excited to announce that we are looking for a new volunteer blogger(s) to regularly write for the site.

If you think you may be interested in writing, we are looking for someone who will be able to write one or two posts each week. Researching and writing for blogs can take a good bit of effort so you will want to make sure that you will be able to devote time to it. Here are a few other things we are looking for in a blogger:

  1. You don’t need blogging experience. We would love for you to share you personal finance tricks, hacks, debt stories! However, you will need to provide at least one sample of your writing for our review.
  2. Be willing to interview and be interviewed. Sometimes blogging includes chatting with people and both asking and answering questions. You’ll have to be ready to do so.
  3. You also need to be willing to interact with readers. If our readers are commenting on your post, we’d like for you to respond to them and create a dialogue.
  4. We aren’t looking for a personal finance expert but some background in personal finance, a great debt payoff story or even frugality tips is a plus. We want you to be interested in what you are writing about!
  5. This is a volunteer position. While there is no direct compensation made for each post, there are some opportunities for bonuses, especially if a post is performing extremely well (getting traction). We want someone who is looking to write because they want to help others, whether it be helping them learn to save or, for example, providing tips on how to make your own laundry detergent.

Those who are interested in writing for PFA  should email James, at [email protected] He will get back to you with more information and chat about a writing sample. If you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments below or call James at 202.468.6043.

Posted in X Files | Leave a comment

Top Tips on How to Keep a Good Credit Score

Top tips to improve your credit score

Having a bad score is not something you want to have in your life. That being said, it’s not like you can snap your fingers and raise your credit score either, or everyone would have a perfect score. But there are however things you can do in order to make sure that your credit score raises or remains at a high point, thus allowing you more flexibility in your future purchases and financial moves. So how does one go about fixing their credit score or keeping it in a good state? We are going to address this question in the remainder of this article. If you’re interested in checking out more credit related stuff, reviews can be found here.

Be aware of everything making up your credit score

Your credit score isn’t just some magical number that some people make up. It can be calculated based on a number of factors. If you want to have more control over your credit score, it is critical that you are aware of all the factors that go into the calculation of this score. Knowing what makes up the credit score is how you can start managing all the individual pieces in favor of boosting your score. There are many different things that go into your credit score, so you should research everything eligible for your particular case, but here are some of the ones you should take into account:

  • Debt level
  • Payment history
  • Recent credit
  • Credit age
  • Mix of credit

Never be late on your bills

You want a great credit score? Then you must make it your goal to never miss a payment day for your bills. All your bills need to be paid in time, every time. That’s how you make sure that you won’t start going downhill as far as credit score is concerned. Falling behind on your bills is the first step towards a much more complicated problem so why not avoid it entirely? Also, it’s not just your credit card bills or loans that you need to pay up in time, but the entirety of what you owe and would otherwise end up on the credit report.

A low credit card balance is key

This is something that not many think of. Usually, if a person is given a certain limit on their credit card, they will either go over it, which is bad, or just cap on their limit, which believe it or not is also bad. Why is it bad to spend exactly as much as you were given permission to spend? Because your credit card issuer will report the balance at the closing of your statement, not when the new one comes in. This means that even if you pay everything that you owe in full, you will still accumulate bad credit based on credit reports. Yes, it’s kind of weird and unfair in some ways, but it’s how it is and you must keep this in mind if you are to maintain a good credit. Somewhere along the lines of 30% of your max credit limit should be ok to spend.

Posted in X Files | Leave a comment

The Art of Gap Trading

What are the benefits of day trading? Well, if you are stuck in a boring cubicle job, learning money-making skills to escape and control your financial destiny is one of the main benefits. What starts you out on that path is learning a relatively basic technique like gap trading and knowing which penny stocks to watch.

Later on, you will learn more about how trading gappers can be an excellent introduction to the world of day trading. But what really is needed to be an excellent day trader is the ability to manage risk while making lots of trades each day, control your overhead and personal spending so that day trading profits can really make a difference and learning the strategies to finding the best stocks to trade.

One of those basic strategies is trading gappers. Basically, a gapper is a stock whose price is trending up in the morning, over the closing price at the end of the previous trading day. Now, not all gap stocks are created equal. What you want to look for is the float, an understanding of the potential breakout times throughout the day and what the catalyst might be for the gap.

The float is the number of shares available for purchase out on the open market. You want a float of a million shares or under, so that the chances of an entire float being trading for that stock in on day are high. That means there is a likelihood of a run on that stock. Which means you get to profit from that run, if you play your cards right.

The catalyst could be any piece of breaking news about the company, perhaps the earnings report or the release of a new products. That type of news could get the pre-market trading of that particular stock going, raising to the price to at least a 4% gap, meaning 4% higher at the opening bell than it was as at the close of trading the day before.

After you identify your gappers, you need to formulate a plan of action. You want to understand at exactly which minute candle to buy the stock and when you are going to sell it. The terms like candle, pre-market flags and opening range breakouts are hard to keep track of, which is why you want to find a reputable site to get your day trading education.

If you enroll at Warrior Trading, you will get a chance to learn the best positions to take in a potential gapper and other strategies for really making money as a day trader.

To learn more about trading strategies in general and gap & go trading specifically, follow Warrior Trading on Twitter.

Posted in Investing | Leave a comment

Five Tips to Save on Your First Apartment

Moving into your first apartment is quite a thrilling experience. It’s a mix of freedom and stress that keeps you in a good work routine. Even when things get hairy, you find the drive to keep going because, after all, this is your place.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of things that are likely to go wrong… it’s something you’ll have to experience. Yet, I do want you to know what can be done to keep costs low so you’re able to build an emergency fund for these tough times.

Stock that pantry

A well-stocked pantry saves. Period. I suggest asking your parents for their suggestions or finding a pantry check list and working off that as a starting point.

You’ll stock up on:

  • Spices & sweeteners
  • Canned goods
  • Dry goods
  • Sauces & broths

Start with the dry goods and make your way into what’s going into the fridge and freezer. It’s a little more upfront but will save hundreds if you get into the routine of cooking at home.

Ease up on the entertainment

Now that you set the rules, it’s easy to want to go out each night – take it easy because this adds up.

Learn to be okay with staying in and doing a movie or arts & craft night. Have a potluck instead of going out to eat with friends. Play retro games you pick up on Steam or at a second-hand shop versus new.

Save money on your media with local DIRECTV options, YouTube or Twitch streaming, and, of course, Netflix, Amazon Video, and Redbox. Cutting down on the cable bill alone could save you hundreds a year.

Learn to love thrifting

Type in “thrift stores near me” and make those the only locations to shop at (outside of groceries).

You need to get over this idea that your stuff must be new. You’re bound to break a few things at your first apartment so don’t waste the money on expensive things.

Thrift stores will have the essentials from clothes to small appliances.

Thrifting is going to save you 50-75% of your apartment and personal expenses on stuff. Then it’s going to save extra because it’s a fun activity that could replace expensive outings. Or, you could always find stuff and flip it for a profit online.

Never say no to free

This goes for things like:

  • Meals
  • Rides
  • Services
  • Stuff

Don’t take advantage of the good will of others but also don’t let an opportunity slip by. Go have dinner with your parents or catch a ride with friends. Say “yes” if your mom insists on doing the laundry or if you spot something neat on the side of the road.

Take risks

You’re lucky to have time and energy at your age. Money is going to be a problem but there are decades of work ahead of you. Now’s the time to take risks, especially when it comes to investments and jobs.

  • Find what it takes to keep you dedicated to a budget
  • Play around with simple stock trading using apps
  • Hop jobs for better opportunities to grow

This is the time to do it because you aren’t held down by a family, career, and other major bills. Use this as an opportunity to learn. Then use that knowledge to take control of your time and finances.


It’s a hard kick in the rear to take control of your life, push past your comfort zone, and get out from under the umbrella of your parents or guardians. You’ll learn more within that first year about personal finance, relationships, work, and life balance than any other time. So, put in all your effort, adapt when times get tough and have a blast.

You now rule the domain!

Posted in Housing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Questions for Personal Investing

In this article, we suggest 5 questions you may have which relate to your own investment portfolio. Everyone has a different set of circumstances, so we can’t cover everything here but it’s a good starting point to get your thinking on the right track.

Do you have your goals defined?

Each person has a different requirement from their investments which is dependent on their circumstances. Some want to let their investment mature so they can cash it in at a later date, some would rather earn dividends to be paid out now, and a lot of the time it’s a combination of both these factors. Often times you may be investing for something specific, such as your child’s college fund or for retirement. Either way, it helps considerably if you are conscious of your investment goals and your reason for investing. Essentially, having a plan makes it more likely that you’ll achieve what you set out to do.

Is your investment manager the correct one?

You’ll need to trust your investment manager’s investment approach, specifically if you put your money into unit trusts instead of shares. Their fees and experience will need to be taken into account as they will vary along with their understanding of the financial landscape. Having a similar investment outlook to your investment manager can put your mind at ease and bring positive results.

It’s important to trust your investment manager and this should be considered in the following ways:

  • The manager’s capability to deliver concrete returns
  • Their principles
  • The manager’s business competence — in other words, how long will they stay in business

Risk vs. reward: Does your investment have balance?

Safer investments are generally slower to grow and give smaller returns. Investments that give high returns in the short terms often have higher stakes and should be considered with caution. Here are some points to think about regarding higher risk options:

  • If your investment is not properly thought through, or if it is overpriced, you could lose your money for good.
  • If performance is unpredictable this may cause you to react in ways not best suited to your fund’s performance.
  • The high returns might not actually materialize.

Are you sabotaging your own success?

There are many studies which show that successful investor returns are on average less than that from the best performing unit trusts. This variation occurs when investment managers make poor choices when purchasing and selling, either reading the market poorly or acting on emotion over reason.

It is most often recommended that long term investment is a safer option as markets can be unpredictable in the short term. Leaving investments in place for longer periods can help to counter this and increase the likelihood of positive returns.

Which product is right for you?

When considering the products which best suit your investment needs, you’ll want to think about when you would want access to your return, what sort of tax implications you’re most comfortable with and how your investment is handled in the event of your death.

Different products fulfill different needs and it’s well worth talking to your financial advisor about which are best for you.

Posted in Investing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

5 Expert Tips on Managing Your Money After Retirement

You work your entire life and as a reward, you get to retire. But the reality is that your ‘work’ does not end the moment you receive your gold watch. Instead, you need to keep managing your money to make sure you can enjoy your golden years. While this might sound like a lot of effort, the reality is that it can be quite rewarding. After all, it is your money. As such, here are five expert tips on managing your money after retirement.

Plan Your Withdrawals

Why would an expert worry about their withdrawals? It’s their money and in theory, they should be able to spend it as they see fit. Well, this is correct up to a point. The reality is that the principal in your account is the very foundation for the next 20 to 30 years of your life and one of the best ways to make sure one has enough money is to make sure it remains in their account.

As such, you want to plan your withdrawals to make sure they fit a strategic purpose. In this way, you can maximize the growth of your portfolio while meeting your needs. You can accomplish this by planning, know which accounts are best positioned and what will be the tax implications of a withdrawal at a given time.

That’s right, the dreaded ‘T’ word – taxes. This can be difficult to manage by yourself, so make sure you talk to your accountant or CFP (Certified Financial Planner) – even the experts take to other experts – to see what are the potential implications of a withdrawal at any given time. This will save you money and will allow you to achieve tax efficiency.

Make Your Money Work for You

You’ve worked your entire life, now it is time to make your money work for you. This is an important point as not all of us can retire with $10 million in our accounts. Instead, you need to find those investments which provide income opportunities with minimal risk – this way you won’t lose your entire nest egg.

Now income opportunity does not focus on growth alone. Granted it is nice to get a good return, but you also want to consider the fixed income from your investments. This could be in the form of dividend payments or a regular annuity which will help you cover the costs of being retired.

This is important. A recent research paper noted that retirees who don’t need to worry about their income are more likely to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. So, find ways to make your money work for you, this way you can enjoy your retirement.

Identify What is Most Important for You

People are living longer, more active lives and someone who retires today might reasonably expect to live well into their 80’s or longer. As such, you need to know how to make trade-offs in your retirement planning. This means knowing how to identify what is most important for you.

For example, you might not want to take that year-long cruise if it cuts 10 years out of your retirement savings plan. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to make sacrifices either. Instead, learn how to prioritize or how to find new sources of capital.

In fact, many people are turning to reverse mortgages to augment their retirement savings. This make sense as for many people their home is their move valuable asset. Just remember if you are considering this option, then search out lenders who are HUD approved.

Hold Off on Start Social Security

While the program is not perfect, it has helped hundreds of millions of retirees by providing a guaranteed income source. There is one simple trick that the experts use when preparing for Social Security.

That is delaying payments until they are 70 as doing so can increase the monthly payment by more than 30%. The move also increases the survivor’s benefits – a big plus for your significant other.

Plan for Health Expenses

It costs money to get old. According to Fidelity, the average 65-year-old couple will spend more than $260,000 on healthcare while they are retirement. By the way, costs are only going in one direction – up.

As such, you need to have a plane which covers health expenses like insurance premiums, prescription drugs, co-payments, and deductibles. This might sound like a lot, but you will want to look at supplemental and long-term care insurance as ways to offset costs.

In addition, set up a separate account with enough cash to cover one- to two-years of out-of-pocket expenses; this way you and your spouse will be able to withstand the high cost of healthcare.

Posted in Retirement | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Living Frugally in the Big City

If you live in one of the major cities, there is no doubt that you and your family are affected by the higher cost of living. While wages in a metropolis tend to be higher – the increased cost of living makes those wages feel minimal. If your family is struggling to find extra money in your budget, cutting unnecessary expenses and utilizing money-saving strategies can help you make ends meet just a bit easier and may even help you put a bit extra into savings.

Preserve What You Already Own

While saving money and cutting unnecessary expenses can make a huge difference in your monthly budget – it is also important to take steps to protect what you have already purchased and invested in. The growing crime rates in large cities tells us that break-ins and theft are common. Even if no one is home to be harmed – the loss of personal property can be a huge financial setback, especially if your current income does not allow you to have renters and theft insurance. Adding a home security system is a small investment that can save you a lot of money in the long run. Home security services are typically rendered for a small monthly fee and while it may seem to many like an unnecessary expense – it can end up saving you thousands of dollars in personal property loss. Before you by, be sure to do your homework and get more information on the right system for your home.

Eliminate Impulse Buying

Impulse buying is a weakness shared by millions of people, so – if this an issue you have you are not alone. Unfortunately, that $7 lipstick you buy waiting for your prescription at the drug store or the craft supplies you bought on clearance at Walmart for a project you will never have time to complete — those things add up quick. Eliminating impulse purchases is one of the easiest ways to create extra money in your budget. Here are a few tips to help you avoid these additional costs

  • Make Lists! – Before going to any store make a list of what you need BEFORE you go. Stick to that list. If an item is not on your list and it is not a necessity – avoid it. The faster you get in and out of the store the less likely you are to spend.
  • Order online! – If your local grocer or drugstore offers online order and curbside pickup USE IT – it will not only save you time, but it will also prevent you from going in store and seeing things you would be tempted to buy.
  • Limit Cash On hand! – When you make your list – most of the time you can guesstimate how much the purchase is going to cost you. Pull that much out of your account IN CASH. Leave your cards at home or in the car – this way you have only have enough money to cover your purchase, and you will not be able to afford anything else.

Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses

Another issue that commonly plagues the family budget is unnecessary expenses. It is important to comb through every regular purchase or fee you pay each month and evaluate whether it is crucial to your family’s needs. An example would be your home phone bill. If every member of your family has a cellphone – is a home phone necessary? Probably not. This may be an expense you can part with and save a nice chunk of change. Here are a few examples and suggestions of costs that can easily be cut from the monthly budget without causing too much extra stress.

  • Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions – You can read these online!
  • Subscription Boxes – Do you NEED perfume every month?
  • Consider cutting down your data plan on your cell – especially if you have wifi at home.
  • Cable TV – are you home enough to enjoy it? Why not try a streaming service or plug-in device instead.
  • Morning Coffee – If you are spending $5-$7 months a day for fancy coffee- try making your coffee at home and taking it on the go.

These are just a few of the minor monthly expenses that can easily be done away with to create some breathing room in your budget. Try estimating how much you spend on these services and items each month and multiplying by twelve to see how much you could save in a year by making small cuts. Managing finances on a limited budget can sometimes be an overwhelming situation. If creating extra breathing room in your budget has been a challenge, making a few small changes to your everyday spending can make a huge difference. By implementing these changes, day by day you will start to see that you can find a balance– and some extra cash that can help you manage your household with a bit more ease.

Posted in Frugal | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Insuring Cars Today vs 3000 Years Ago

Originating in Babylonian culture, casualty insurance — as the name implies began as a form of risk management used by individuals to assure the safe transfer of property to another upon one’s untimely, or unplanned, demise. When the items were given to the benefactors, an extra toll would be paid for the goods to be protected against casualties such as loss, theft or damage. Should the merchant have financed the shipment, the loan would have been cancelled had any adverse situation caused the goods to become lost or destroyed.

This type of property insurance was written into the infamous Code of Hammurabi circa 1750 BC; fast forwarding to present-era risk management, we are far more advanced than worrying only about being hanged or losing gold over a lost shipment. We now share what is called diversification. With diversification, wider spectrums of automobile insurance options now come into play.

Our current economy gives us the ability to choose from a plethora of automobile insurance options with variances in additional coverage riders. To allow you, the consumer, to see just how vast your options can be, we’ll segregate the United States to give you a brief summation of what to expect should your insurance shopping lead you to car insurance faction.

Information contained in this segment is accurate to United States standards and, although we’ve limited our insurance conversation to the United States, many of the legalities remain similar throughout the remaining North American territories.

United States Auto Coverage

Car insurance across the United States, offered for all moving conveyances but more commonly for vehicles, offers many company choices both in-state and abroad, with many options for drivers of all ages and situations.

In the United States, “diversification” is an understatement in regards to the overall ability to choose a car insurance agent and receive options that are suited to your needs both personally, and on a family level. To give you some resourceful examples, below you’ll find some brief expectations when seeking affordable car insurance. The United States has many options, and state coverage laws, so bear with us.

  • Any moving vehicle with four wheels must have car insurance. Department of Transportation (FDOT) workers are sticklers about not issuing plates or registration to non-insured vehicles.
  • Parents are required to carry student car insurance. United States teenagers still living at home or who lack financial stability obviously can’t drive without car insurance; therefore, parents must have a sufficient amount of affordable insurance coverage beginning the day their teens receive their driver’s license and in certain cases, continuing when they enter college.
  • Whereas many states have simply PLPD as their state minimum coverage, the United States mandates PIP insurance (personal injury protection) at or above $10,000 and PDL (property damage liability) amounts equaling the same. It must remain in effect as long as you have a plated vehicle on the highway.

Now that we’ve explained some of the automobile insurance requirements for United States residents, let’s look at some of the companies to make diversifying your needs easier. Student car insurance, automobile insurance, or simply car insurance — United States residents would benefit from having is easy to find if assisted by literature of this magnitude.

Diversification of Automobile Insurance Today

In order to expand your insurance options, you need to place your finances under a microscope and figure out which car insurance plans will suit your needs best. Understand where each company has come from, their current financial stability, and make sure you’ve asked for and applied all applicable discounts before signing the final documentation. The car insurance offered by each company varies in price, coverage options, additional features and claims handling. Your preferences can be easily matched with any car insurance firm, but your price may be out of their range, or vice-versa.

To determine your needs, you should pick 5-10 companies that offer car insurance with benefits like comprehensive student perks and discounted rates, and sit down to perform due diligence on each company. Narrow the ones who meet your expectations of price and service down to 3-5, and schedule time to make an office visit to each. As we’ve previously discussed, 15 minutes is worthless for insurance shoppers – choose on your terms, not based off someone else’s clock.

Insurance is All Grown Up…

We’re no longer in the Babylonian era where your car was your insurance policy – you now have a wealth of car insurance options to choose from. Don’t live without accident insurance; casualties happen to even the best of us. United States residents shop for car insurance that has diverse qualities depending on the company. However, in our current era, finding car insurance is so easy, even ancient Babylonians could do it.

Posted in Insurance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Financial Survival Prep Guide for Students on a Shoestring Budget

Whether you are a student feeling the pinch of debt and itching to get a little bit to spend at the bar, or you’re trying to make ends meet and study too, stretching scholarship money, online credit rates or juggling part-time jobs, it’s prudent to have a financial map in place so you can navigate life more easily.

Since Jill Stein didn’t win the election and there is no other way student debts are going to be magically waived, you are probably better off pulling those shoestrings together tight. Forking out some extra bills for a weekend trip or working up a tab at the bar – these expenditures can quickly add to your overall spending. Here are a few practical tips to help you get through what could be the most exhausting but equally exhilarating part of your life — without burning yourself out.

Be a ‘Smart’ Budget Manager

Budgeting and tracking finances have never been easier than in the current times, what with the myriad options available in app and software expense tracking. Ration your expenses to your various needs like food, gas, rent, etc., and track them individually. The software varies in range from simple everyday budgeting to complex interest and investment tracking. Choose one that best suits your needs. Here are some of the most used and highly rated apps:

Level – Level is a free Android-based personal finance tracking app that allows you to picture your expenditures using an amazingly simple interface.

Mint – Mint allows you to categorize your spendings individually, so you can keep tabs on where your money goes and can adjust accordingly.

Saved Plus – This app goes one step further and lets you transfer your savings directly into the safety of your savings account before you change your mind.

Planned Meals

Visiting the diner or grabbing a quick coffee with friends after class can easily add up to considerable amounts of money spent over the long term. Also, get into the habit of looking beyond labels to identify healthy frugal alternatives to branded products. Oftentimes they can be just as good from a quality standpoint, and they can be much easier on your wallet. Planning simple meals can mean not only that you are saving up, but you’ll be sticking to more nutritious foods compared to greasy diner food.

Credit Card

This can be a bit sticky. You want to build a good credit history, but credit cards can easily lead to overspending and put a big kink in your savings. Choose your credit card wisely, read through the fine print, and go for the one with the best interest rates, reward points and long-term offers. If you are really focused on being careful with your expenditures, you can subscribe to a few recurring services or software like Netflix or anti-virus software that will charge your card every month. Then cut up your card so you don’t use it at a weak moment.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

This is a fun area where you can flash your student ID and get discounts on everything from restaurants to trains to clothing stores. But be careful on this front and avoid buying things solely because they come with discounts. It would be wise to check for student discounts on things that you already need to buy and take advantage of those offers. College will be over before you know it, and your debt might be a huge issue chasing you around for the next three or four years. With some smart decisions early in your student life, you might be able to save a lot of time and trouble later on.

Posted in Education | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Creating a Post-College Financial Plan to Stay Out of Debt

Millennials are finding themselves in unfamiliar territories after completing their college studies and starting the real life of looking for a job, paying bills and definitely paying off huge amounts of debts. The situation can get depressing if you are coming from a situation whereby all your bills were taken care of; and then suddenly you are in this environment where you have monthly student loan repayment, mortgage repayment, car loan repayment and your ever increasing bills as your living standards change when you land your first job. To help you avoid the messy culture shock most millennials are undergoing immediately after college, here are a few tips to guide you to a smoother transition.

college finances

Get yourself a financial mentor

We all have this one person that we consider to be financially successful than ourselves even though we are within the same income levels. These people could be a relative, a family friend or even a workmate in your employment after college. Identify this person and let them be your financial mentors by guiding you in making basic financial decisions such as how much to send on rent, when to borrow a personal loan, how to ask for a higher starting salary, how much to save from your monthly income among many other financial issues. This will help you keep track of your financial habits knowing that you have an accountability partner who is watching your every move and guiding you in the right direction.

Differentiate between wants and needs

College life is always free-flowing with credit cards for most students sometimes linked to their parents’ bank accounts; hence they can afford to spend so much money on luxury stuff. However, the narrative changes once you are out of college and you are living on your own with your own bills to pay from your salary. In most cases, deductions such as income taxes, health insurance, pension contribution, student loan repayment among others may leave you with half your monthly gross salary in the bank account.

Knowing the things to prioritize in your expenditures becomes very important since you also need to save part of your monthly income for future investments. Cutting down on luxuries that you were used to when in college and focusing on the basics that you need to live a decent life becomes a necessity at this stage in your life. Living within your means does not hurt; never try to compete with your friends in living fancy lives that are unsustainable. This kind of peer pressure will only inflate your credit card loans and dig you deeper into the debt zone.

Plan to pay yourself first!

By paying yourself first I mean you need to have a savings plan where you deposit at least 30% of your monthly salary before you make any other expenditure and lock it in. This will help you to build a pool of funds that you can easily tap into in case of emergencies when a lucrative investment opportunity surfaces or when you want to buy your first car without getting a loan. In addition, this is a perfect way to start saving for your retirement early. By capitalizing on the power of compounding, your savings will grow to larger amounts if you start saving early as compared to when you start saving late as you near your retirement age. You can choose to go with the 401 (k) or the IRA plan; but whichever channel of savings you choose, ensure you are disciplined to make regular deposits on a monthly basis.


Figure out your budget and stick to it

It is often said that failing to plan is planning to fail. You do not want to fail especially when it comes to financial matters since that can lead you into the deep dark hole of debt. To ensure you live within your means and have your expenditure regulated, you need to create your monthly personal budget which outlines your needs and their corresponding costs as well as your revenue sources and the regular incomes they bring in every month. You should then compare your total monthly costs with your total monthly incomes to see how you are faring. If your monthly expenditure exceeds your monthly regular income, then you are having a budget deficit and you will have to cut down on some of the items on your expenditure list so as to avoid borrowing loans to meet bridge the gap. However, if your monthly income is more than your monthly expenses, then you have a budget surplus which is highly recommended that you add it to your monthly savings plan.

Having a personal financial plan is one thing while implementing and sticking by it is a whole different scenario. It calls for high personal discipline to create your budget and live by it. But if you feel you might get off the right track, having a financial mentor will keep you from wandering away from financial prudence into the rat race of debt repayment.

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

Things to Know Before You Start a WordPress Blog

If you’ve ever considered starting a blog, you have probably been advised by friends and fellow bloggers to use WordPress to start your blog. That’s with good reason. WordPress blogs are flexible, customizable, and easy to use – all great things when starting a blog, especially if you are a beginner. But there’s an important decision you’ll have to start a WordPress blog before you dive in.

When you start a WP blog, you’ll have two basic options. You can either have your blog hosted on and have your blog’s name listed as the subdomain, or you can use Let’s look at the differences, as this is a very important decision.

The first option is free, while still offering most of the flexibility and customizability that WordPress offers. You can start your blog, create and publish posts, promote your site, and build a following. However, it’s imperative that you understand that when you choose this option, WordPress technically owns your content. What does that mean for you? It means that they can, at any time, for any reason, take down your blog. It’s rare that this will happen, but it’s possible, so it’s something of which you should be aware. The larger problem with hosting your blog on is that you don’t have your own unique domain name. This may seem like a small thing, but look at it this way: Does it sound more professional to have your domain be called www.myblog.wordpress, or www.myblog? If you want to have the kind of professional image and cache that your blog deserves, the choice should be clean. To boost your blog’s professional potential, the second WordPress option is probably the better choice.

Opting to use instead of, you can have your own domain name, which will serve as your unique online identity. Yes, you’ll have to pay for your domain name through a hosting service, but think of it as an investment in your business. You’ll also get all of the features offered to the free accounts, but with the important added benefit of maintaining complete control over your content with no fear of it being shut down by WordPress.

Whichever option you choose when starting your blog, WordPress makes starting up your blog easy. Their instructions will walk you through the process. Once your domain name is chosen and your blog is set up, you can choose from a seemingly endless array of templates, plugins, and other options to make your little corner of the online world truly your own.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Pipes

Most areas have a fair share of older homes and with older homes comes older plumbing systems and pipes that may need to be upgraded or replaced. While this is not a fun or pleasant prospect to think about, in many cases it will be completely necessary. In order to remove and replace underground pipes, professionals will have to use a pilot tube guided auger boring machine. These machines make it easy to get large sewer pipes replaced, which means you will not have to go without a working plumbing system for long periods of time.

Here you will find several examples that will let you know your pipes need to be repaired or replaced.

Rust Colored Water

If you begin to notice that your water has a rust colored hue, then it may be an indication that the water heater needs to be replaced. This is true if you notice the discoloration when you turn the hot water on. If the discoloration occurs when cold water is turned on too, then there is an issue somewhere in the actual pipe. Any trained plumber will be able to determine the issue and then quickly and efficiently make the needed repair.

The Presence of Lead Pipes

It is essential to replace any lead pipes that may be present with new, modern options. There are many buildings that still may have these pipes and they need to be replaced as quickly as possible to prevent issues down the road.

Pits and Leaks Appear

If you are able to see corrosion and pitting in the pipes then this is likely a tell-tale sign that they need to be replaced. If you fail to do this, there is a good chance that they will eventually being to leak or rust and can contaminate your water supply. Also, if any corrosion has occurred and caused a leak already then there is no question that you need to seek pipe replacement. This will also be true if there are leaks that keep showing up in the same part of the pipe, regardless of if the pipe is corroded or not. When it is time to have plumbing repairs, it is essential to choose a reputable and affordable company. This will ensure that the job is completed in a timely manner and that the price of the work is not too high. This is essential in ensuring that you have the repairs you need when you need them.

Posted in Housing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

7 Ways to Find Money for College


Students do not have to stay at home simply because they do not have money to cater for their tuition fees and other college expenses. Given the cost of schooling at colleges, it worth trying some of the easy and available ways of getting free money. With the advancement in technology, students have a broad variety of sources to get funds and grants necessary for continuous learning. Below are seven ways on how to get free money for

Apply for scholarships

Scholarships as compared to other college finance sources are easier to get especially with the online tools and advanced technology. There are both long-term and short-term scholarships out there. You need a scholarship that is renewable from one semester to another. It is good that you meet all the requirements so that you can keep a scholarship. Some of the requirements may be maintaining good grades and good morals at college. Act in a way that motivates your sponsor.

You can start applying while still in high school or immediately after joining college. You should often apply to increase your chances of securing one or several scholarships. One thing you should avoid is paying money with the promise of getting a scholarship.

Secure grants

Grants are one of the best sources of money for college. The good thing about grants is that they are not repaid, unlike students loans. In most cases, grants are based on the student financial needs. Others depend on things such as grades, geographic location, talent, field study or gender among others. Regarding how to get a college grant, you can look for institutions that offer the same online. In case you are in college, you can ask the financial aid advisor to give you a list of all the grants. Check and see which particular grants you might be eligible. Instead of going for loans that increase life burden especially after college, you can go for non-refundable grants.

Not all grants offer college support in the form of money. Some of the grants may cover several semesters at college while others may cater for entire tuition fee, books, and other college-related expenses.

Work with college enrollment

In the case you want to save your limited budget, you can check out those colleges that are referred to as work colleges. These colleges in a way trade work for college tuition fee. You work for them, and in return, you pay nothing or less regarding tuition. You may cover all the college costs by just working for a particular school. Working by itself comes in the form of training and financial help. The college may end up employing you permanently after finishing college.


Fundraising is one of the easy ways to make money for college students. People love contributing towards learning. You family, as well as friends, may be a good source of funds for college. Do fundraising campaign and go ahead to share it with your friends and family. Accept all kind of donations, and you will be able to sail through college successfully. The extra money you require to buy essays for college may come from fund-raising.

College selection

The choice of the school may save you a lot. Some colleges offer money and other incentives to new students as one of the techniques of encouraging them to apply. Subsidized school fee makes the college entrance affordable. You even save your budget for meeting various expenses. You should know that this kind of financial support is not available to those students who want to transfer from one college to another.

For your information, there are tuition-free colleges where you do not pay anything to learn. Most of these colleges require exceptional conditions such as minorities and disabled, but you can still try.

Serving your country

Serving your country is one way of giving back to the society. It is also a way of getting all your college costs catered for. In most cases, military sponsors its personnel in advancing their education. If you are a professional in a particular field, joining the army with the intention of not only serving but also enhancing your skills is a wise decision. Some scholarships are reserved for the military.

Apply for students loans

Even if students loans are payable after finishing college, they may save you especially when your family is not financially stable. You do not have to stay at home due to financial constraints with the presence of institution and education ministries offering loans to cater for your college costs. After all getting a degree now is a long-term investment by itself. This should be your last option. Do not forget about saving money tips. They can be of the real help while you are studying.

Posted in Education | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Cell Phones and Accidents


Did you know that we now have the technology to disable cell phones while you are driving? This can prevent a lot of texting-related accidents. Some states have laws in place that prohibit the use of any type of handheld device while you are operating a vehicle. This means that texting, talking on the phone and surfing the net are all banned. It can be difficult to prove definitively that the person driving a vehicle involved in an accident was using the phone. For this reason, injured people should contact an experienced auto accident lawyer if they think that something of this nature might have caused an accident.

Hands-Free Devices

In an effort to promote safer driving practices, there are some states that have implemented regulations and laws. Sometimes these safety measures don’t allow cell phone usage unless they are used with hands-free devices. They also mandate no texting while behind the wheel unless you want a ticket. While there is a benefit to these measures when it comes to decreasing the distractions for drivers and as a result, causing fewer accidents, some can argue that even these hands-free devices can be distractions and as such should be used only with caution.

The Multitasking Myth

Both cell phone conversations and driving require a great deal of thought… more so than you might think. When you are doing both of these things at the same time, your brain just is not able to do both of them equally well because it is distracted. As an example, it is almost impossible to read a book while you are simultaneously having a conversation on the phone. If you try to do this while you are driving, it can result in a car accident due to things like braking time being delayed and not seeing traffic signals…or seeing them but not registering them.

The Scope of the Issue?

As of this writing, there is not a reliable method that will accurately determine how many vehicular crashes involve the use of a cell phone. That means that it is impossible to know the full scope of the issue. There are quite a few challenges to verifying that a cell phone was one of the contributing factors in a crash. These can include:

  • Police officers rely on the drivers to admit to using a cell phone. This isn’t possible when the drivers don’t want to admit it or have been seriously injured or even killed.
  • Witness statements and memories might be inaccurate.
  • Police might not fully investigate the use of cell phones if it isn’t a violation in that area, or if a violation that is more obvious, such as lane departure or speeding, is involved.


When there is a vehicular accident, the person who has shown carelessness is the one responsible. This can be shown when someone uses their cell phone when they are driving. There is a theory that the accident could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the cell phone being used. Because of the cell phone being used, the driver might have been distracted while they were driving, using only one hand to steer and not keeping their eyes on the road.

Increased Liability

Many states have begun to ban using cell phones while behind the wheel. As a direct result of this, any driver who gets into a car accident while they are using a cell phone can be exposed to extra penalties and liabilities.


Because of the increase in regulations that involve the usage of cell phones, insurance companies are using more of their resources to look into how their clients are using them while they drive. In some instances, insurance companies have increased premiums for those who have gotten tickets for using cell phones while driving. Additionally, just as with other types of at-fault accidents, ones caused by a driver using their cell phone will also increase monthly premiums.

Calling an Attorney

If you are fingered as being the responsible party in an accident and you believe this isn’t true, then you should contact an attorney. Conversely, if you have been in an accident where the other party was at fault, you should also contact an attorney. The attorney can help determine who is at fault and make sure that you get what is coming to you.

Posted in Cars | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Brief History of Spread Betting

Spread betting can be regarded as the derivatives product which allows you to trade on the movement of the price of a wide array of financial markets including shares, commodities, currencies, indices, and much more. The spread bets can be used for speculating on the price movements irrespective of the fact that whether the actual market is rising or falling. Today, here are a lot of well-known platforms which let you spread bet and earn money. For instance, ETX Capital‘s spread betting platform allows you to trade forex as well as commodities and indices.

How it all began?

In the 1940s, a Chicago-based bookmaker Charles K McNeil made the spread betting popular for the sports scores, but this all could not gain much popularity as the USA authorities did not encourage the financial spread bets. This discouraged the people in the USA to trade on the different commodities and currencies but spread betting started to emerge in the other parts of the world.

Then, in 1970s Stuart Wheeler re-invented the concept and offered this new concept of the spread betting to his fellow investors. Considering the fact that Gold, as a commodity was too expensive for an average guy to trade, he created an index for it and gave the investors an opportunity to bet on the gold’s price movement. More precisely, they started betting on the future of the gold, without actually buying or selling the gold in the market.

Although, this type of trading was a strange idea in that era, but its ability to let people trade without actually buying the commodity made people get attracted towards it. As this idea started to catch up, Wheeler started to widen up the selection of markets which his investors could bet on.

The Emergence of Internet

In the 1990s, when internet evolved as one of the best ways to communicate and connect with the people sitting in different parts of the world. With people using the internet for diverse reasons, the spread betting got impacted significantly with it. The Internet allowed the traders to stay permanently plugged into the fast evolving world of spread betting.

With the internet, the spread betting providers started to broaden their scope of the marketing activities. The World Wide Web helped the traders with the ability to easily & instantly speculate on the rise or fall of the prices globally along with the ease of access.

By 2000s, the factors, including mainstream media’s interest in the stock market, the emergence of the online trading platforms, the popularity of currencies and commodities as the entities to bet on, brought the spread betting to the much wider audience worldwide. The tech-savvy people and the younger generation comprised a major percentage of the traders.

Today, spread betting has become exceedingly popular and has come a long way since its emergence in the 1970s. Financial spread betting is today an established way to bet on a broad array of global markets and their performance, and in the UK, the spread betting is regulated by FSA (Financial Services Authority).

Posted in Investing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why Small Businesses Fail

You’ve worked hard to grow your small business. It’s grown from an idea to an income producing enterprise. Yet despite your best efforts, you’re not sure if it will survive.

Statistically, even initially successful small businesses have sputtered and died. While there are many macroeconomic reasons why this might happen, it’s usually an internal issue that causes the small business to implode.

Only too often, it’s because the small business owner is over their head. They panic and do irrational things when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. They don’t know how to face their growth spurt.

While a large business often has enough resources to manage growth, as well as consult with subject matter experts, a small-to-medium business may be faced with the prospect of working with limited resources and may have no idea what to do next.

As a small business owner, what are some of the challenges you face when your business has grown too fast for you to operate it with the same level of small-scale efficiency?

Here are 3 challenges that you will face when your business grows faster than you can handle:

Insufficient Capital

Capital management is the foremost challenge faced by a new business. Insufficient cash flow through the business can jam up business processes. It’s rather like a low amount of oil running through a car engine. Without sufficient oil, the engine can seize up.

It is at this point that a business must be able to tap into more capital to continue to fund its operating needs. While overheads may have gone up, its revenues remain the same. Fortunately, with the right lender, it’s possible to get the money you need to do the things you need to do. You can keep on producing the work that has made you successful until your revenue can catch up.

After the financial crisis starting in 2007, it has become increasingly difficult for a small business to get financial support from a traditional lender for many reasons. Fortunately, some enterprising online lenders have stepped in to provide financial relief. It’s now possible to get a customized online business loan to continue to mature your vision. A customized package may combine traditional business loans with an accounts receivable line of credit and inventory lines of credit.

Insufficient Management Know-how

If you have successfully managed to fund your business operations so that your profits now exceed your overheads, you are now faced with yet another grave challenge–managing your more successful business.

The management skills that have brought you to your present level of success may not be enough to take you to the next level.

You may discover gaps in your knowledge and ability to manage your business.

You and your senior management team may be struggling in the following core areas:

1. Financial management. You now need a more sophisticated way of allocating resources and measuring metrics.

2. Marketing campaign management. You may now need to market your business more aggressively but lack the necessary knowledge and experience on how to generate more leads.

3. Human resource management. You now need to hire more people to manage the increased workload, and this requires a deeper understanding of government regulations and labor laws.

You may either not have the expertise or you do have the expertise but are spread too thin to manage all the new things you must do. In fact, you may be so overwhelmed that you can’t even manage your own personal checking account.

What’s the solution?

First, determine the areas where you either have insufficient time or knowledge to manage your company.

Then, either take on the responsibility of educating yourself or train your existing managers to the learn new skills necessary to run the business.

If further self-education or staff training is unrealistic because of time or money constraints, hire someone who has the skills that you need — those skills that you and your senior management team lacks.

Since the solution is fairly straightforward, the real problem is that you don’t recognize that there is a problem, continue to run things the old way. Since you don’t realize you have a problem until you are overwhelmed and make costly mistakes.

Insufficient Business Processes

The third challenge is not re-engineering your business. While your business plan may have worked well in the past–after all, it brought you to your current point of success–it may not be big enough or detailed enough to take you into the future. Like the management problem, the real problem is that you don’t realize that you have a problem until things are out of control.

The solution is to review all your business processes, equipment, and mission statements and see which needs to be jettisoned, revamped, or upgraded.

The Real Problem

The real problem is not that you or your team are out of your depth when your business leaps to a new growth spurt. After all, the challenges a small business faces when it reaches a new level are not insurmountable.

If you lack capital, then you can arrange ways to get it.

If you lack management skills, you can either upgrade skills or bring more people with the requisite skills onboard.

If your current operational methods are outdated, you can always scale up your business processes or equipment. What causes a small business to fail is not recognizing they need to adopt a new way of doing business until it’s too late.

Posted in Making Money | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How Your Debt Affects Your Credit Score

how debt affects credit score

One of the most influential factors of your credit score is your debt. In fact, debt makes up 30% of your credit score. Carrying too much debt can lower your credit score. However, not having enough debt can also cause your score to take a hit!

Confused? You should be. Let’s start with the basics.

What is credit utilization?

Credit utilization is used to calculate your credit score. This factor is the ratio between the credit you have available and the credit you have used. This ratio is determined for each credit card, loan, and mortgage that you have. The credit utilization ratio is also used to determine your overall credit availability and use.

You may think that not having any debt at all means you should have a perfect credit score, right? Wrong. If you do not have any credit available then this can actually lower your credit score. You want a low credit utilization ratio, and that means having open credit accounts.

Credit card example

You have a credit card with a $10,000 limit. You charge $1,000 on the card. You have utilized 10% of your credit available. This will boost your credit score.

You charge $8,000 on the exact same card. You have utilized 80% of your available credit. This is a high credit utilization ratio. Your credit score could drop as a result.

A higher credit card balance means more damage to your credit score. The worst offenders are over the limit and maxed out credit cards. You need credit available but not used for a low credit utilization ratio.

How your debt is handled is also important

Your debt management practices are also reflected in your credit score. When you pay off balances right away your credit utilization rate drops. Opening new credit accounts can also hurt your credit score. Having several credit cards which are maxed out can be very damaging. Using debt consolidation or bankruptcy can sometimes impact your score for years.

You need to show that you can manage your debt responsibly

This means only carrying the credit you need. Make all of your payments on time. If it appears that your debt is overwhelming your credit score will suffer.

Debt types on your credit report

There are several different debt types that you may have on your credit report. These can include:

  • Installment debt: This is a debt which involves equal monthly payments over a fixed period of time. If you have a car loan or mortgage it is usually an installment debt. This debt will show an I in the Current Status rating.
  • Revolving debt: With this debt type your monthly payment amount is based on your current balance. Credit cards are normally revolving debt. The credit report Current Status rating will start with an R.
  • Open debt: Open debts are not as common as the other two debt types. These are debts that require full payment each month. You do not have a set credit limit. Each month the full balance on the account must be paid.
  • Aggregate debt: This debt amount is just the total balances owed on all of your credit reports. If you have a mortgage, a car loan, and two credit cards it would be the balance of all 4 accounts total.

4 tips to boost your credit score

  • Try to keep any revolving balances that you have as low as possible. This will lower your revolving utilization ratio as well.
  • Request credit limit increases. It may not be possible to lower your balances significantly. If you receive a credit limit increase this can have the same effect. Your utilization ratio will go down and your score may go up.
  • Keep your older credit card accounts open. Older accounts in good standing add history length and will positively affect your credit score. If you must close accounts close the most recent ones first.
  • Use each credit card every month or two for small purchases. Pay the entire balance as soon as the bill comes in. This will keep the account open and active.

Your credit score and your debt are closely linked. Too much debt makes you a credit risk to many creditors. No credit or debt at all can also keep your score lower because your risk is not fully known.

Use your available credit wisely, and avoid unnecessary debt or numerous credit card accounts. This will help you achieve the best credit possible in your situation.


Posted in Debt | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Different Ways to Deal with Unexpected Emergencies & Bills

The downturn of the worldwide economy has caused most of us to watch our spending. While you may be doing well to track your budget, unexpected bills and emergencies can quickly result in financial worries.

According to a study published last year, more than 60% percent Americans don’t set aside enough rainy day funds to handle minor emergencies. Just 38% of them said they’re in a position to manage a visit to the emergency room or a $500 vehicle repair with physical cash in a savings or checking account. 28% said they would either use credit cards or borrow from peers, and 26% said they would reduce spending on other items.

But you don’t need to cover an unexpected bill or emergency with credit. You can always manage the unexpected by taking the following measures.

Installment Loans

Short-term online installment loans are designed for folks who want some extra cash fast to deal with unexpected bills and emergencies. They stand as a great alternative to the standard payday loans as they offer a simple repayment schedule that won’t require you to settle a big lump sum. You can either carry out a specific number of payments over the loan’s life or choose to pay it early and save interest, whichever is more affordable on your end.

Cut Back on Monthly Non-Essentials

Cutting back on monthly non-essentials and bills can help you cover the cost with ease. You can make simple changes such as ditching the pay-per-view TV package or taking coffee from a regular coffee shop instead of Starbucks on your way to work. These small steps can help you build an emergency fund reasonably quickly, so see where you can make savings by going through your expenses using a fine toothcomb. Also, you have the option to utilize online “cut-back calculators” to get an idea of how much you can save by cutting back on different things.

Utilize Your Savings

If there are emergency funds squirreled away in your account for a rainy day, you can always use them in the case of an emergency. While you will lose some interest by withdrawing your savings, the amount you lose is likely to be a better deal than what you’ll need to pay when you borrow cash to settle unexpected emergencies. However, cash ISAs and regular saver accounts often penalize account holders, so check if this is applicable in your case before withdrawing any sum. And again, compare what you’ll lose in the penalty against what you’ll have to pay if you borrow the cash to fill up your emergency fund – the former could be a viable option still.

Prolong Planned Purchases

Perhaps your budget can’t accommodate any surprise bills. However, you can piggyback your emergency fund onto other things you’re saving for. For instance, if you’re saving up to buy a car at the start of next year, you can reroute some of those savings towards your unexpected expense. While this means that you need to rebuild savings, you’ll be able to address priority issues when they arise. Work towards replenishing any savings you end up raiding for the rainy day. If this is something that can be mastered, it’s a great way to settle that emergency bill. Take these steps today to deal with unexpected expenses.

Posted in Personal Finance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment