Call Lexington Law at
833-333-8277
for a FREE Consultation
Should You Be Using a Credit Monitoring Service?

Should You Be Using a Credit Monitoring Service?

Just think for a minute how much of your information is stored on-line, from retail stores, to doctors, to insurance. The more you think of it, personal information about you is all over the web! We are regularly hearing of more and more major companies experiencing security breaches that make millions of customers vulnerable. By using a credit monitoring service you are alerted of any possible threats to your credit, including identity theft, report errors, and your credit score evaluation to help you improve your credit score. Private Information On the Web USA Today pinpoints what information identity thieves can use to gain access your identity and money: User names, passwords, and PIN numbers Social Security numbers Phone and utility account numbers Bank and credit account numbers Employment and student identification numbers Driver’s license and passport numbers Professional license numbers Insurance identification numbers College or university financial-aid form information Protection From Identity Theft Identity theft is a raging fire that is spreading quickly, and the thieves are becoming better and better at it. The sad truth of the matter is that, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, “it takes 12 months, on average, for a victim of identity theft to notice the crime.” By then it is unlikely you will get much resolved. A credit Monitoring service can alert you regularly (by text, phone call or email) so that you can take immediate action if there is even a chance that someone has tried to steal your identity! Reports From all Credit Bureaus A credit monitoring service will provide you with regular reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Having...
What Is A Debt To Income Ratio And How Does It Affect My Credit?

What Is A Debt To Income Ratio And How Does It Affect My Credit?

Good credit can give you the freedom to make large purchases, take advantage of perks like airline miles, and more. Bad credit, on the other hand, can restrict your financial opportunities. If you want to have good financial credit, it is important to understand how certain things affect your financial opportunities. One thing to consider is your debt to income ratio (or DTI). Keep reading to learn more about the connection between your debt to income ratio and your credit. What Is A Debt To Income Ratio? Your debt to income ratio (DTI) is usually calculated by dividing your monthly debt payments by your monthly income. For example if you make $2500 each month and your debt payments are $700 each month, you would calculate your DTI by dividing 700 by 2500. $700 debt payments ÷ $2500 income = .28 which means your debt to income ratio is 28% When calculating your debt to income ratio, be sure to include car payments, student loan payments, credit card payments, and all other monthly debt payments. What Affect Does Your DTI Have On Your Credit? Your debt to income ratio is not used to calculate your credit score. However, lenders use it when they are trying to determine whether or not to approve you for a loan. It is also used to determine your interest rates on new loans. What Is The Right Debt To Income Ratio? In most situations, the lower your debt to income ratio is, the better your financial opportunities will be. As a rule of thumb, your DTI should not exceed 36%. If you are trying to...
4 Tips For Saving Up For a Big Purchase

4 Tips For Saving Up For a Big Purchase

The big purchases of our lives – cars, homes, big screen TVs – are typically fraught with anticipation and angst. They have the potential to either wreck your finances, or set you on a good path for years to come. Next time you’re preparing to make a big purchase, consider these 4 tips before pulling the trigger. 1. Sleep on it How do you know the difference between a wise purchase and an “impulse buy?” One of the best ways to find out is to sleep on it. If you’ve reconsidered by morning, then it was probably an impulse buy and you’ve just saved yourself a big chunk of change. But if, after giving it some time, you still decide that this is an important purchase, then you can start considering how to save up for it. 2. Budget for it A big purchase can have a big impact on your monthly budget. You don’t want to deplete your savings too much or risk any overdraft fees. Here are a few options for budgeting for those bigger purchases: Give yourself several months to save up enough money for the purchase, and set aside a manageable amount of money each month Build a cash reservoir into your budget specifically for these types of purchases. That way, when you need to make a larger purchase, the money is already available. 3. Research to find the best deal A little research can save you dozens, if not hundreds, or dollars on bigger purchases. Sometimes a little patience (waiting for a better deal to come along) is the best strategy. Other times you can hunt...
Why You and Your Partner Should Budget Together

Why You and Your Partner Should Budget Together

If you’ve noticed that you and your partner don’t quite share the same spending habits, join the club. Finances are one of the top sources of contention among married couples. It probably didn’t take long for you to figure out who was the “spender” and who was the “saver” in the relationship, and it’s a good thing you have each other to balance one another out. However, when it comes to combining incomes, bank accounts, taking out loans together, etc. it’s very important that you and your partner have open communication and are on the same page about finances. If push comes to shove, your or your partner’s poor spending habits could damage your credit and substantially increase the risk of bankruptcy. Here are some important topics to discuss together to keep a healthy balance with your money and your relationship. 1.     Be honest about your personal financial history As you discover each other’s flaws and realize that gasp! you’re not both perfect, be honest and also empathetic with your partner as you analyze your current financial situations. Your partner will likely want to know the good and the bad and work through it together. Finances definitely fall under the “for better or worse” category, so put it all out there and help make each other better. 2.     Budget together Have a budgeting meeting at least monthly to make sure you’re both on the same page about how much is coming in and how much is going out. The cell phone bill or car payment should not be a surprise to either one of you. When you’re both responsible...
Teaching Money Management to Your Children

Teaching Money Management to Your Children

As you continue to learn more about how your financial decisions affect your credit, you may often find yourself asking, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this before, when I was younger?” From car buying to credit cards, there are a lot of ins and outs to learn when it comes to managing your finances, and you may have had to learn some of those lessons the hard way. Teaching your children some of these important financial lessons before they’re faced with tough decisions can help save them a lot of grief and financial woes. Here are some important financial principles that even children should learn and implement to set the stage for a successful financial future. 1.     Save, save, save! Children as young as toddlers can learn the value of saving their money. Giving them the opportunity to work and earn their own money for something they desire rather than buying it for them on the spot teaches them a valuable lesson about impulse control and patience. What may start as saving for a simple toy may translate to them saving for a car as an adult rather than relying completely on loans and credit. 2.     Budget In addition to teaching your children to save for a specific purchase, teaching them to stay on top of every dollar they earn or spend is also very important. For some tips on where to start if you’re new to budgeting yourself, here’s a good article with some basics. Teach them to be aware of their spending habits and preferences so they can budget accordingly. If they learn these lessons when they’re young...
/* */