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7 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances Before the End of the Year

Did you know “saving [more] money” was one of the top three New Year’s resolutions in 2018? Chances are, it will rank among the top resolutions for 2019 as well. No matter how comfortable we are financially, most of us can do more with our money. If you’re among the many people considering a financial resolution in 2019, there are plenty of things you can do before the ball drops. Addressing your finances now to set yourself up for success in January. Here are seven things to consider doing right now: Check Your Credit Report You can check your credit report for free, with no penalty to your credit, once every 12 months. Take advantage! The end of the year is a great time to order a copy of your report from the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Get yours online at annualcreditreport.com (the only authorized website for the job,…

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score: most days you probably don’t think about it at all. But at pivotal milestones throughout your life, a good credit score suddenly becomes crucial. Your credit score affects your ability to buy a new car, qualify for student loans, get approved for an apartment or even land a job. With a good credit score, you’ll be able to finance a vehicle, get approved for an apartment with a safety deposit, and pass an employment background check. And with an excellent credit score, you’ll find yourself eligible for the lowest interest rates, with better chance of approval for loans and rentals, access to the best credit cards, higher credit limits, easier mortgage approval and so much more. No matter where you are in life, it’s worthwhile to put in the effort to move your credit score from bad to good, or from good to excellent. So where do you…

7 Common Questions About Credit Reports

The whole credit reporting system can seem a bit mysterious. In fact, when you first realize you have credit reports and a credit score, it may feel a bit like being graded for a class you didn’t even know you were enrolled in! To help demystify this important aspect of your financial life, here are answers to seven common questions about credit reports. What Information Does My Credit Report Include? Today’s credit reporting system is designed to provide a “just the facts” summary of your financial track record. Your credit reports provide a summary of your credit history. They include information provided directly by lenders and gleaned from public records. Credit reports do not include gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, political affiliation, medical history, motor vehicle records or criminal records. And even though credit reports are focused on your financial history, they also don’t include information about your bank accounts. This…

How Your Credit Score Impacts Future Financial Goals

When it comes to your credit score, report and history, it’s important to remain vigilant, address issues, spend wisely and make payments on time.   Since your credit score is a reflection of your financial behaviors, your spending power is directly affected by your spending habits. A credit score also impacts your savings and future goals. Staying prompt with credit card payments and other debts will help to avoid a snowball of debt that may become unmanageable. And it will also help to maintain or improve your credit score over time. Establishing good credit creates a world of opportunity and sets you up for a future of great financial decisions. Even if your credit isn’t great, the good news is that it isn’t the end of the world. The Fair Isaac Corporation takes into account all of your credit behaviors, both good and bad. You will have plenty of opportunities…

6 Steps to Spring Clean Your Financial House

After many of us have experienced months of a cold, dreary winter, the tide turns to warmer weather, bringing with it new life and a fresh start. As you sweep out the dust and brush away the cobwebs, consider not only spring cleaning your home but also your finances. Take these six steps to put your financial house in order. Plant Seeds for Future Financial Success When it comes to planting vegetables and flowers, March and April stand as key months for starting seeds indoors. Spring is an ideal time to sow financial seeds as well. If you don’t have a budget in place, create one now. Next, take time to review the following financial accounts and make adjustments to maximize financial gains. Investments 401(k), Roth IRA and other retirement contributions Tax withholdings College savings Tidy up Your Financial Paperwork Financial paperwork, such as bank statements, check stubs, tax documents…

Stay on Top of Your Credit Report With AnnualCreditReport.com

In early September, Equifax announced it had experienced a data breach affecting 143 million Americans. The breach took place between mid-May and July and was discovered by the company on July 29. You might be wondering: what is Equifax, and why should this matter to me? Equifax is one of three big credit-reporting companies. The other two are Experian and TransUnion. These companies generate credit reports that are used by lenders and others to determine if you are a good credit risk. Whether you know it or not, you are a customer of these companies, because they all compile data about you from credit card companies, lenders, banks, retailers and others, as well as from public records. For guidance on what to do in the wake of the Equifax breach, here are 5 Steps You Should Take To Protect Yourself after Massive Equifax Attack from Forbes and guidance from the…

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