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Are Your Friends Keeping You In Debt?

Are Your Friends Keeping You In Debt?

It’s a lesson you probably learned very early in life: some people help you up, and some people knock you down. That lesson holds true for several scenarios – including your financial situation. If you find yourself strapped by debt, and can’t seem to get out of that “buy now, pay later” mentality, keep a watch out for these people in your life that could be influencing you to maintain those bad habits. The guilt-tripper This friend seems to always be having a good time, is always looking for company, and doesn’t like being turned down. After all, who wants to take a 3-week vacation to Hawaii alone? Unfortunately, this friend really lays on the pressure and doesn’t hesitate to let you know much fun you will miss, how hard it will be for him/her to go alone, all of the fun activities that can only be done with multiple people that you will ruin, how it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, how you only live once… you get the gist. Their guilt game is strong. The “get rich quick” claimer There are a lot of people who make money off of other people’s desire to make money. You probably have at least one friend who’s always trying to convince you that they can make you a millionaire by age 30, that you can work from home making passive income while never changing out of your pajamas, or that it’s early enough in the game that if you get in on it right now you’ll be on top in no time (and all it takes is a monthly payment of $XXX...
What Happens to your Credit When You Only Make Minimum Payments?

What Happens to your Credit When You Only Make Minimum Payments?

If you’re trying to get out of credit card debt, it’s important to get in the habit of making regular payments on your credit card balance. Making your payment on time is important to avoid late payment penalties and fees. But is it enough to make only the minimum payment on your credit card, even if it’s on time? As it turns out, making only the minimum payment may be costing you much more than you realize. Here’s how. Credit is a Business The minimum payment that your credit card company sets for you isn’t to help you out. It’s calculated to maximize profits for the company. It stretches out the time it takes you to repay and, therefore, how much interest you pay. The minimum payment is usually calculated as a percentage of your total balance, typically between 2 and 4 percent. Interest Trap Here’s what you are actually paying when you make your minimum payment each month. A typical example would be a credit card balance of $1000, with a minimum monthly payment of 3 percent, or $30. Now, if your interest rate, or APR, is near the standard of 16 percent, that means you owe $160 each year in interest. If you are making only the minimum payments, you’ll end up paying $360 per year toward your credit card balance, but only $200 of that is toward the balance, and the rest toward interest. After one year, your balance will still be $800, and at that rate it will take you quite a while to finally pay off your credit card debt, and most of your payments...
5 Unexpected Ways Your Credit Score Affects Your Life

5 Unexpected Ways Your Credit Score Affects Your Life

You already know that your credit score will affect your interest rates for loans, or whether or not you will even be approved for a loan, but did you know that your credit score affects more than just your ability to borrow money? Your credit score and credit report tells your financial history, and more importantly whether or not you’re good at making payments on time and in full. Your ability to make prompt and complete payments is important to more than just those from whom you seek home or auto loans. Here are five other ways your credit score and history affect your way of living. 1.     Landlords One of your biggest monthly payments is usually for your home. If you don’t have a mortgage, you might not have thought that your credit score mattered much when it came to your living arrangement, but landlords are very much interested in your ability to pay rent on time. Most rental applications will include a credit check, and a low credit score or a short credit history may result in a bigger deposit or even being turned down for a property. 2.     Cell Phone Companies Smartphones are essentially mini computers these days, and their price tags reflect that. With most smartphones costing hundreds of dollars, many people opt for paying monthly for their phones as a part of their phone plan. Most cell phone companies will want to make sure you’ll be good for your monthly payments, so they’ll run a credit check before they let you walk out with your new smartphone. 3.     Utility Companies While they are not allowed...
Credit and Financial Questions to Ask before Getting Married

Credit and Financial Questions to Ask before Getting Married

When you’ve finally met that special someone it seems you’ve been missing your entire life, you probably feel like there’s nothing in the world that could put a rift between the two of you. But don’t let love cloud your judgement – there are a lot of details and logistics to be handled before you can merge lives, one of the most important being your finances. It’s unlikely that you discussed finances on your first few dates, or even at all before you decided to get married or move in together. But discrepancies in financial responsibility are one of the most common sources of contention in relationships. Before you and your partner find yourself at odds because of spending issues, take the time to ask and discuss these topics to make sure you’re on the same page 1. Bill Payment Sharing a home means sharing the home payment, utility payments, and merging several other financial aspects of your life. Before you move in, ask your partner how they manage their bills on their own. Find out if one of you seems to have a better system than the other, and delegate the responsibility of paying the bills to whomever will ensure a timely and full payment. 2. Credit History If you haven’t yet, pull your credit reports and go over them together. Learn how to read them together if you don’t understand all of the terminology, and identify any negative items on either of your reports. Set goals to improve your scores if necessary, and identify the reasons behind the negative items to prevent any future credit dings in...
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