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4 Hacks to Raise Your Credit Score

4 Hacks to Raise Your Credit Score

4 Hacks to Raise Your Credit Score Your credit score. Chances are you either love it or hate it. It’s either the greatest thing in the world or a total hindrance. Or, maybe you don’t really know enough about your credit score for it to make an impact on your life. As a whole, Americans’ credit scores are beginning to increase but our knowledge of credit and how it works is declining. A recent survey from credit scoring company VantageScore and the Consumer Federation of America found that 32% of the people surveyed didn’t know they had more than one credit score. That percentage has risen by about 16% since 2012. Let’s forget about how many credit scores we have for a second and answer a very basic question: what is your credit score? Your credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 300 (the lowest possible score) to 850 (the highest score). Lenders use your credit score to make decisions about whether or not to offer you credit – such as a credit card, car loan or mortgage loan. Your credit score is also used to determine the terms of the offer – what your interest rate will be and whether or not you’ll have to make a down payment. Your credit score is calculated by looking at these categories: Payment history Your income-to-debt ratio Total debt Length of credit history Types of open credit Public records (such as bankruptcy) Number of inquiries for your credit report New credit So, what is considered a good credit score? The average credit score in the United States ranges between 670...
How to Prepare for the Unexpected Expense

How to Prepare for the Unexpected Expense

We can’t avoid unexpected expenses. Life happens. Question is, how prepared are you to deal with life’s unexpected curveballs? There’s no way to predict when life will happen. One minute you’re looking at a little extra money in the budget and feeling good about the small surplus. The next minute your new puppy swallows part of a chew toy, and you’re off to the vet. There goes your small surplus and budget. Life’s unexpected events can be overwhelming and figuring out how to handle the new debt plus the monthly recurring debt can be stressful. What happens if your car breaks down, you have to move, or your water heater has to be replaced? Illness and employment are equally as unpredictable. If you are laid off, how long could you pay your bills without living off credit cards or borrowing money? You’re not alone. Did you know that 40 percent of Americans can’t cover a $400 expense out of pocket? So, what happens if you find yourself in this position? Believe it or not, you have a few options – smart, safe and legal options – to help cover those unexpected expenses. Payment plans Maybe haggling over a bill doesn’t come naturally to you, but this is a great way to save a little money each month. Most doctor’s offices and hospitals will work with you on payment plans as long as you are paying something on it each month. It’ll help show that you’re good for some of the balance now and can pay some later. Avoid predatory lenders Don’t let your circumstances make you feel like payday...
A Look at Reverse Mortgages

A Look at Reverse Mortgages

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You? Reverse mortgages. Depending on your circumstances, choosing between a reverse mortgage or another option can be easy or difficult. Most of us have heard about reverse mortgages, but few know how they work. “If you haven’t saved as much as you thought by a certain time, or your expenses are more than you thought they’d be, a reverse mortgage could be an option. These types of loans are structured so that it’s basically like getting an equity loan or mortgage on your property,” said Loan Specialist, Clint Bramlett. “Instead of paying the loan back, you live in your house until you decide to move out, or death. After either of these events, the bank will then take the house and sell it. Hopefully for a profit.” If a homeowner opts for a reverse mortgage, they are no longer liable for the payments on the house. However, the taxes and insurance must be paid or the loan will be foreclosed. “Homeowners can elect to take the money in a lump sum or a line of credit similar to a home equity line of credit,” Bramlett explained. While you won’t have a monthly payment, the interest on the loan will increase. “Before a homeowner can begin the process of obtaining a reverse mortgage, they must go through financial counseling with a HUD-certified counselor,” Bramlett added. There are several qualifications a homeowner must meet for a reverse mortgage loan. Including: • At least 62 years of age • Live in the home as a primary residence • Sufficient equity in the home • Meet financial...