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Money

Back to Basics: How to Establish Good Credit

Our society relies heavily on credit to make major purchases. Credit can even be used for smaller purchases. Even phone companies check your credit when you want to start phone service. Plus, prospective employers sometimes check your credit as well. It’s never too soon to begin building your credit.
 
It can take several month or even a few years to establish a good credit score. It’s smart to establish an excellent credit history before you need it. Learn about credit and how you can use it effectively to build a high credit score.
 
What’s Important for a Great Credit Score?
 
There are three primary components of a credit score:
 
  1. Your payment history. Do you pay your bills on time? Then you’re perfect. Late payments and collection actions seriously damage your credit.

  2. The length of your credit history. If you’ve only had credit for a couple of months, your score will be lower than if you’ve been using credit for several years, assuming everything else is equal. That’s why it’s important to get started today.

  3. Your utilization ratio. If your credit card limit is $2,000 and your balance is $1,000, your utilization ratio is 50%. Always keep your utilization below 35%. Any higher than this will result in a lower credit score.
 
By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll can figure out how to build a great credit score. Acquire credit, make your payments on time, and keep your credit card balances low. It’s also helpful to have a good mix of credit.
 
How You Can Build Your Credit
 
Build your credit successfully from scratch with these strategies:

  1. Open a bank account if you don’t already have one. This will help you with your local bank. When you’re a reliable customer, it will help in the future. Remember that your local bank has a credit card program. They also provide other types of lending.
  • While a bank account won’t affect your credit score, it can help you to acquire credit with your bank.

  1. Ask your bank for a secured loan. Ask for a loan against your savings account balance. You can easily borrow 90% of your current balance. Banks love to make these loans because they can’t lose money. If you default, they’ll take the money out of your account themselves.
  • Take the money you’ve borrowed and use this same money to pay off the loan. Make a few payments and then pay off the full amount.

  1. Acquire two credit cards. This can be very easy if you’re a college student. Fill out a few credit card applications and see what happens. If you can’t acquire a conventional credit card, look into secured credit cards. After using a secured card responsibly for several months, you should be able to get a conventional card.
  • Avoid getting two of the same type of card. Mix it up. Get a Visa or MasterCard and an American Express or store card.

  • Use the cards regularly, but only for small purchases. Be sure to pay your bill on time and avoid carrying a balance. Each month, pay off what you’ve charged.
 
  1. Pay all of your bills on time. Thirty-five percent of your credit score is related to your payment history. Late payments can be recorded with the credit bureaus and damage your budding credit score. This includes your utilities and even possibly your rent. Sit down once a week and pay your bills so you can keep a handle on them.
 
Building a good credit score requires time and a few simple steps. It’s important to be responsible and pay all of your bills on time. Avoid making unnecessary purchases. The best time to begin building credit is before you need it. A well-established credit history can make your financial life easier.

7 Financial Tips that Can Ease Your Stress


If you find yourself dealing with financial stress, it can be an exceptionally difficult time. However, you mustn’t let the stress take over your life. If the bills are piling up, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress and your debts.

 

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re faced with financial troubles is to make a plan and stick to it. If you need help with this plan, it would be in your best interest to seek out a financial planner.

 

Here are a few tips that can help you on your way:

 

  1. Don’t spend money to relieve your stress. It’s often tempting to reduce stress by going out for meals, entertainment, and other activities. This is clearly counterproductive. Instead, use some free stress relievers such as a warm bath, a good book, or a social event with friends at home.

 

  1. Accept your situation. Being unwilling to accept that you’re dealing with a hard situation can increase your stress. In many financial scenarios, you’re unable to control the situation. However, once you surrender control and accept it, you’ll feel better knowing that you can only do what you can to improve your financial outlook. It may take time, and that’s okay!

 

  1. Don’t be risky. If you have investments that may be on the risky side, it may be time to switch them to more of a sure bet. This security alone may ease your financial stress.

 

  1. Discuss your problems with family. If you have a spouse, make sure you keep the lines of communication open. Many marriages suffer during times of financial stress, but with honest communication and careful planning, you can keep your marriage and family happy.

 

  1. Stay Organized. Make lists and keep a calendar. It’s important to schedule time for relaxation, too. You’ll need some time where you can enjoy yourself without worrying about anything – especially your financial troubles.

 

  1. It’s never too much to remind: Have a Plan. Simply having a plan to improve your financial problems can reduce your stress level. Plans and goals will help you keep things in perspective and show you that you’re making progress towards a better life. By the way, you don’t need to do this alone. There are many professionals available to help you create a successful financial plan, even in your current situation.

 

  • Here are some items you may want to review before forming your plan:

 

  1. If you find that you’re spending more than you’re making, find ways to cut expenses.
  2. See if you can pick up a part-time job or implement other ways to add to your income.
  3. Look into refinancing options for your current loans.
  4. Start using your debit card instead of a credit card.

 

  1. Maintaining Your Health: People often forget how important it is to maintain your health. When your body is dealing with any kind of stress, it can take a toll if you don’t take steps to relieve it. Next time you feel exceptionally stressed out, become aware of the state of your body. You’ll likely notice that all of your muscles are tense. Take a few moments to relax your muscles and take a few deep breaths.

 

 

While you may not have control of your financial situation, you do have control over how you feel about it. Focus on taking action to do what you can to improve your situation and know that better days are ahead.

4 Signs Your Debt is Out of Control

Debt is a huge epidemic that can sweep an entire nation, leaving those in its wake feeling out of control and desperate. There is nothing more terrifying than waking up to thousands of dollars in credit card debt, a huge car payment, and student loans that will take a lifetime to pay off.

Ok, it may seem like this is a bit exaggerated but, in reality, this is the life that many of us live. Debt affects everyone from the single mom to the CEO of a major corporation. What are the signs that you are heading for disaster? Can you dig your way out before it’s too late? It begins with you making a choice to dump your debt and maintain a lifestyle that revolves around that decision.


1. Living Paycheck to Paycheck – Do you find yourself having no money immediately after you get paid? Your money comes in, your money goes out, and you’re left wondering where it went and why. This is the way around 76% of Americans live. You work hard for your money, so it makes sense to take control back and start telling that money where to go in the form of a budget.

2. Creditors are calling – Collection calls can ruin your day. Not only do they call at the oddest hours, many are mean and nasty. When you get to the point where your bills are being sent to collection because you can’t even make the minimum payments, there is a problem. And not a small one. This is a huge sign that your debt needs a reduction and your household needs a budget.

3. Impulse Spending – Is it hard for you to tell that inner child “no?” When you see something you want, do you immediately buy it? If so, these types of impulse buys can lead to a mountain of debt if you’re not careful. Having your money budgeted out each month can reduce the amount of impulse buys, because you have already told your money where it is going ahead of time.

4. Money Fights – To those who are married, this applies to you. Money fights tend to happen when you and your significant other are not on the same page regarding the money coming into the household. This causes stress and frustration in the marriage and is one of the biggest causes of divorce today. It’s important to discuss money and come up with a plan of action together, so that you both know what to expect.

If one or all of these signs sound familiar it may be time to cut down on your spending and start freeing yourself from whatever debt you may have. Dumping debt is not as hard as it may sound. The written budget is a surefire way to pull yourself up from the pitfalls of debt and there are a huge number of resources out there to help you get started. The hardest part about it is changing your mindset about money and disciplining yourself to live according to a written plan. If you stick with it, you are no doubt on your way to a lifetime of Financial Freedom.

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