Credit Blog

Here you'll find my latest podcasts and new articles. And, as always, I am happy to answer your credit questions!

Mar 18, 2016

3 Financial Resolutions I’m Getting a Late Start On

New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep, as anyone who has tried to spend January losing weight, saving money or doing some other type of self improvement knows. Too often, the resolution is thrown to the side by February, and that includes financial resolutions.

With a late start being better than no start at all, I’m starting February with three financial resolutions that I hope to keep on track. These go beyond my resolution to lose weight, which I started in October 2015 after getting the idea that an early resolution might help motivate me. So far, not much, but I’m working on it.

After losing weight and getting organized, spending less and saving more was the third most popular resolution in 2015, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. Forty-six percent got past six months, which gives me some hope.

This article by Aaron Crowe first appeared on CashSmarter.com and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Mar 16, 2016

Obama Proposes Tax Help for Student Loan Relief. Congress Says No.

In the budget the Obama administration has just sent to Congress there are some benefits for students who will face massive tax bills when their student loans might be forgiven under income based programs.

As it stands now, students are enrolling in income driven repayment programs to reduce their current monthly payments to a level based on their income. After 20-25 years, depending on the program, the remaining balance would be forgiven. As it stands now, that forgiven amount would be taxable up to the level the student becomes insolvent.

To make the problem even worse for the income driven plans, the balances are going up while they qualify for lower payments. So the balances due once they reach the forgiveness point in a couple of decades will be massive.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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Mar 14, 2016

5 Ways Money CAN Buy Happiness

Top Advice:

1. Check your motivation against the five principles of happier spending — if your “spend” doesn’t match up, think about saving your money instead.

2. Use money to create connections with others — whether through spending on a shared meal or giving someone a gift — can lead to greater happiness than money alone.

As you plan the year ahead, think about how you will be spending your money in 2016. Ok, got a few things in mind? Now let’s think about whether those big spends will make you happy.

At Earnest, we wanted to take a step back and look at what psychology research says about spending money and how it relates to happiness.

This article by Catherine New first appeared on Earnest and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Mar 07, 2016

Paper Clutter

My Dumb Embarrassing Expense: Paper ClutterIt's not my biggest expense by far, but I consider it one of my more embarrassing ones. Every month, I pay to

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Nov 26, 2015

Finance Your Own Business

Written with Garrett Sutton, a small business attorney and Rich Dad’s Advisor, Finance Your Own Business, Get on the Financing Fast Track will walk you

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Nov 09, 2015

25 Worst Financial Mistakes Anyone Can Make

Anyone can make a mistake. They're part of everyday life. Financial mistakes, however, can lead to problems for years to come if not corrected soon.

After talking to financial experts and others who have either experienced or seen other people make the worst financial mistakes of their lives, we compiled the following list of 25 of them. Many are common after graduating from college and starting a financial life on your own, but they can still happen to anyone at any age.

This article by Aaron Crowe first appeared on Add-Vodka.com and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Nov 05, 2015

The teenage years are for practicing money decisions in a safe space

Previously, in our series about how children develop the skills and habits that support financial well-being in adulthood, we shared a few stories from parents. We illustrated how childhood is the time to acquire skills like self-control and planning ahead, and the preteen years are about getting familiar with the financial world around us. In this last part in the series, we’re going to explore how teenagers practice the financial skills that drive their choices in adulthood.

Teenagers can learn about personal finance through classroom courses and through real-world experiences. According to research we commissioned, well-designed classes or programs support the financial decisions teens face in their lives: how to identify facts they need, decide what information sources are reliable, and compare alternatives. Additionally, lessons can have staying power when the teenagers already use the products they’re learning about—like bank accounts.

This article by Laura Schlachtmeyer was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 14, 2015

We’re Paying Off $47,000 of Debt. Here’s How

Steve and Jennie Silha ended up in debt the way a lot of young couples do: They had children.

Steve, 44, is a realist, and says the problem was pretty simple.

“It really came down to the fact that we decided that my wife would be a stay-at-home mom, but we spent like we had two incomes,” he said.

And after 15 years of raising two children, the Chicago-area couple found themselves with $47,000 of unsecured debt – most of it credit card debt — last year. That’s when they made a commitment to make a change.

“I’ll say that it came down to irresponsibility on the surface. We just made very poor decisions over the past 10 years,” Steve said. “We have decided to ‘grow up’ and take the debt on.”

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Bob Sullivan was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 11, 2015

Could My Business Loan Wreck My Credit?

A couple I’ll call Jake and Marcia purchased a coffee shop. The business was really Marcia’s dream, not his, but she was persistent and he reluctantly agreed to try to help out. Things went badly from the start and within less than 18 months they were forced to shut it down. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Because they had obtained a loan that required a personal guarantee to purchase the business, they were facing the possibility of losing the home where they raised their children. Needless to say, their relationship was also quickly going south, with Jake accusing his wife of putting their entire future at risk.

What is a personal guarantee and what does it mean? And what about your personal credit? Does it affect that, too? As a corporate attorney working with small-business owners all over the world, I’ve heard a lot of questions, misconceptions — and some horror stories, like Jake and Marcia’s — about how personal guarantees work.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Garrett Sutton was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 10, 2015

5 Birthday Freebies You Don’t Want to Miss

You really don’t have to pay much to eat, drink or be merry on your birthday. And there are even some gifts that are yours to pick up if you sign up for a club or emails. A few other offers require only that you present identification showing that it’s your birthday. But know that restaurants and retailers are ready to wish you —or your child (and even your pet in some cases) — happy birthday with something special.

Here, we’ve tried to highlight some that are available to most of the country, but it’s smart to check for local/regional deals as well. Those can be valuable. (Example: Georgia residents can get into the Georgia Aquarium for free with a valid ID showing it’s their birthday, a value of nearly $40.) Here are a few birthday freebies that you can get simply for marking another year.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 09, 2015

7 Mistakes That Can Demolish Your Credit Score

It’s the irony of all ironies: Shortly after writing a story about the risk of paying a department store card late after the holidays, since it’s not in your usual list of bills to pay, I forgot to pay one of mine. To be fair, I did check online for my statement a couple of times, but it wasn’t ready yet. And somehow I missed the mail telling me when it was finally ready. Thankfully, the issuer called before the bill was 30 days late, I paid it immediately (with a late fee, ugh) and narrowly averted a black mark on my credit report.

We all make mistakes. But when it comes to our credit, we need to be especially careful because that one slip-up can damage our credit for years to come. Here are seven mistakes that can put your credit on a downward spiral.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 08, 2015

How I Repaired My Own Credit

George M. knew his credit was bad. But how bad? He wasn’t sure. But in June 2014 he decided to find out, so he ordered his free annual credit reports and requested his free credit scores (available online as part of Credit.com’s free credit report summary, and elsewhere).

As he expected, it wasn’t good. Child support, a tax lien and collection accounts made up the bulk of his report, and a credit score of 520 reflected that.

But instead of just giving up, he decided to see what he could do to turn it around.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 07, 2015

How I Saved $350 by Finally Shopping for Insurance

I’ve been writing about personal finances for years — for this site and others as a freelance writer — and I almost always take my own advice and the advice of experts I’m writing about. But when it comes to shopping for insurance, I’ve gotten lazy.

Almost every other piece of personal finance advice I’ve written about I’ve implemented myself: have an emergency fund, set up a college account for my daughter early, buy value stocks, cooking dinner at home and buying a used car with cash, among other things.

Shopping for insurance is one of the easiest things to do, taking minutes online or a five-minute phone call to an insurance agent. Up until about a month ago, the last time I went shopping for insurance was about a dozen years ago when my wife and I bought a house and needed homeowner’s insurance.

This article by Aaron Crowe first appeared on Add-Vodka.com and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 04, 2015

Why Identity Thieves Love Small Business

Not long ago, a small business owner I work with found herself the target of an identity thief. He didn’t open credit lines in the name of the business, but instead stole its name and good reputation to bilk other entrepreneurs out of thousands of dollars. He was quite blatant about it, even representing himself on LinkedIn as a principal of the business.

Dealing with identity theft is bad enough, but if it hits your business it can be devastating. It can take enormous resources and time to straighten out — and what entrepreneur has lots of time to spare? It can even bring your business to a screeching halt if you don’t catch it and stop it quickly.

Here are three reasons identity thieves love small business owners.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Garrett Sutton was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 03, 2015

7 Ways to Build Credit Without a Credit Card

Let’s say you know you want good credit, but you also know you do NOT want the most ubiquitous credit product around. No way do you want a credit card. Perhaps you follow a certain personal finance guru’s advice to avoid them. Or maybe you’ve gotten in trouble with them before and don’t want to take any chances with having one again. Whatever the reason, you don’t want to go the plastic route.

But is the road to good credit paved with anything else? Good credit will be important if you hope to someday borrow money for a car, a home, cover an unexpected medical bill, or even qualify to rent an apartment.

Luckily, it’s possible to get there without a credit card. You may already be doing it without knowing it.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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