Resuscitating Financial Health One Credit Point at a Time

erase bad credit score

A single number can destroy your financial health, and that number is your credit score. Your credit score represents your monetary wellness. It can prevent you from taking out a loan or purchasing a car — just like how your first and last name on the Internet and social networking sites can prevent you from getting a job because of your 
online reputation
. Perhaps it’s time to address and clean up areas in all aspects of your life. Myfico.com can help repair a poor credit score though just like how Reputation.com can restore a negative online image. First, find out your credit score. You may be in financial trouble without even realizing. The following will help you learn more about credit ratings and what you can do to maximize your financial health.

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that represents the level of risk you pose when a bank lends to you. While several credit-scoring options exist, the most commonly used one is the FICO score. This score is made up of the following elements:

erase bad credit score

  • Payment history on debts – 35 percent
  • Amounts owed on debts – 30 percent
  • Length of credit history – 15 percent
  • New credit – 10 percent
  • Types of credit used – 10 percent

FICO scores fall between 300 and 850, and a higher number is a better score.

Your credit number is important because it affects your ability to get a loan or other form of credit. Lenders look at borrowers and decide how much of a risk borrowers pose. The higher your credit score is, the lower your risk is to the lender, and thus chances of getting the loan increases. Other factors must show that you have the ability to repay too. Use free services like Credit Sesame to learn your current credit score.

What Is a Bad Credit Score?

A FICO score of 620 or lower is considered bad credit, according to Bad Credit Offers.com. The “bad credit” cut-off point will vary from one lender to the next. A bad credit score occurs either because you have little credit history from which to create a credit rating or your credit history has a negative factor that lowers your card.

A bad credit score can cost you significant amounts of money. If you find a loan despite your bad credit, expect to pay more in interest rates, warns Experience.com. As a high-risk borrower, you may also experience difficulty in purchasing affordable housing. Landlords evaluate credit scores during an overall risk assessment while approving your application. You may even find that your car insurance premiums go up and employers are less willing to hire you — all because of your poor credit.

How to Fix Bad Credit

Bad credit is serious, but it can be fixed. The Federal Reserve recommends the following tips:

  • Get a copy of your credit report and ensure it is accurate.
  • Start paying bills on time.
  • Know how credit scores are figured.
  • Learn the actions to take to correct errors.
  • Research credit-repair services, which are often scams.

Your credit will improve in time. If you need to see fast improvement, MSN recommends these tips:

  • Pay down credit cards to less than 30 percent of the credit limit.
  • Use cards minimally or in an emergency.
  • Check credit limits for accuracy.
  • Ask credit card companies for “goodwill adjustments” on an occasional late payment.
  • Dispute old negative reports, as most collection agencies will not verify that the account was yours if it is old enough.

Your credit rating is a valuable tool in your financial stability and flexibility. A low credit score does more than just make it harder to get a loan. It can cost you monumentally, so learn what your score is, and then take the time to heal a bad one.

Megan Ericson is a real estate agent and financial consultant for local SMBs, Megan shares insights on how to organize your finances.

Bargaineering to a Richer Life

jim bargaineering interview

One of my goals for My Financial Reviews is to highlight personal finance blogs and sites that I think can help you with your finances. This week Jim from Bargaineering shared his tips on having a richer life. Meeting Jim in person, I can tell you is absolutely a gentlemen and he loves to help others. I was so happy that he wanted to join the blogger series

When and why did you start Bargineering?jim bargaineering interview

I started Bargaineering in the beginning of 2005 because I had just started working and really becoming more serious about managing my finances properly. I also had a lot of free time because my future wife, then girlfriend, had moved to New Jersey and I didn’t have much to do at night so I thought I’d start a blog. 🙂

It’s been a fun journey, I’ve met a lot of people over the years and I’d like to think my finances are better for it.

Over the years, Bargineering has cover so many topics on finances. Have you noticed a change in how personal finances is being presented now versus years ago?

I think it’s been presented pretty much the same way over the years, the only difference is that there is a lot more of it. The beauty of personal finance blogging, as opposed to what you read in newspapers or magazines, is the breadth of experiences.

When I started, I was writing as a young professional who just started working. Five Cent Nickel had a family with four kids. Now that I have a family, I’ve started to write more of what I saw on Five Cent Nickel years ago. With so many voices, there are so many perspectives that you can find anything.

Do you think financial companies like banks, brokerages, and insurance companies are getting better with their products and services?

I think companies are always improving, the apps today are great. You can do all sorts of banking online now, you have Credit Karma giving you free Transunion scores, and all the Mints and data aggregators really help people manage their money better.

How do you handle your own finances? What system do you employ with: budgets, investing, and career?

I just track my net worth on a monthly basis, I don’t budget, and I actually have started working with a financial adviser to help with some of the bigger picture items, like term life insurance, estate planning, and the like.

What’s the biggest financial mistake you’ve ever made? What did you learn from it?

It wasn’t that big of a mistake but when I purchased our first house, I let the process drive me rather than the other way around. I used whatever title company the lender recommended, I used their inspectors, I didn’t ask for things because I thought the seller would back out of the deal, and I basically was too passive. I learned that it’s my money and I should control the process of spending it.

What are your goals this year and beyond with Bargaineering?

I’d like to do what I’ve always done with it, grow it, have fun, and meet new people in the process. 🙂

Thanks again to Jim for taking time  for this interview! Check him out on Bargaineering and please read these great posts:

If you want to chat with Jim he’s also on Twitter.

 

Are You Saving As Much As You Can Online?

money saving tips

The internet has certainly had some far-reaching effects on many people’s lives. It has provided us with the ability to learn about just about anything and everything simply by searching for the information we seek. It has allowed us to be more efficient with shopping and with many work activities, too. Further, it has provided many people with the opportunity to save money in a variety of ways, too. You may be wondering today if you are using the internet as much as you could be to save money on your expenses. Here are some of the top ways to save money online that you may not be putting to use today:money saving tips

Price Comparison Websites

There are several price comparison websites that allow you to shop for everything from cheap personal loans to insurance rates and credit cards. These comparison sites are designed to save you a considerable amount of time in your effort to shop around. Whether shopping for cheap personal loans, a new car loan, or something else, these sites can save you a considerable amount of money.

Coupon Websites

There are numerous coupon sites that are designed to save consumers money, too. Some of these sites provide you with discount codes for online shopping, and some provide you with the ability to view coupons on items you may purchase at a drug store or grocery store and then print out the coupons you need for your next outing. Still other sites provide you with group savings by organizing a bulk order purchase of an item or service and passing the savings on to you.

Social Networking Savings

If you are not friends with, fans of, or followers of your favorite stores and restaurants, you could be missing out on the opportunity to enjoy great savings. Many stores and restaurants offer special savings offers to those who have chosen to follow or friend them on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others. Often, there are promotional offers available for initially choosing to be a fan or follower, and then additional promotions and savings are provided regularly, too.

Savings With Apps

There are dozens of apps for your iPhone, Android phone, and other devices that are designed to save you a considerable amount of money. Some provide you with an easy way to compare prices while you are shopping. A few feature a bar code scanning feature that allow you scan an item with your phone, and then learn if the item is available close to you or online at a more affordable price. Other apps can guide you to savings while you are on the road, such as apps that help you find the lowest gas prices close to you or affordable dining options nearby.

You can see that there are dozens of ways you could be saving money online. If you are not currently putting all of these methods to use today, consider implementing a few of these ideas today so you can start enjoying the savings immediately!

Photo Credit: sunshinecity

Tax Tips to Get Your Money Squared Away in 2013

filing taxes

Besides writing about taxes here on My Financial Reviews and  Couple Money, I also regularly write for TurboTax’s blog. I thought it would be also very useful to collect my tax posts from around the web so you can have a post you can use as a reference for some questions you may have about getting your taxes done.

filing taxes

TurboTax also has a team of tax experts writing on their blog, so if you have a very specific tax question, please leave a comment on their site.  If you want to get started on your taxes, grab your copy of TurboTax today!

Photo Credit: 401k