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Options When You Must Pay for Medical Care

Obtaining quality medical care sometimes comes with a high price that you must pay. Whether for an elective procedure such as cosmetic, bariatric or laser eye surgery, or medically necessary surgery that is out-of-network or exceeds your coverage limit, you may face thousands of dollars of medical debt. Although the thought of coming up with a pile of cash to pay off medical bills may seem daunting, you have choices when it comes to financing medical debt. There’s no need for you to postpone or refuse important medical care because of high costs. Here are a few financing options to consider: Medical Loan   A medical loan is a personal loan you apply toward healthcare expenses. You can consolidate your existing medical debt or to cover an emergency or planned procedure or pay for charges your insurance doesn’t cover. Here are key factors to consider in shopping for a medical…

Do I Need Debt to Boost My Credit?

Much like no news is good news, no debt is a good thing. But what happens to your credit score when you don’t have debt? The answer is complicated. The short version is no debt can pose a challenge to someone looking to land an excellent credit score. Credit scores are intended to report your credit risk. In other words, they reflect how you have handled debt in the past. But having a high credit score is more complex than simply carrying debt. Understanding the factors that impact your credit score are important. There are many different strategies you can use to increase your score. [Spoiler alert: Going into debt simply to boost your score should be your last resort.] What Factors Impact My Credit Score? A combination of factors creates your overall credit score. Payment history has the biggest impact on your score and recent credit has the smallest.…

Should You Consider a Credit Card With an Annual Fee?

There are countless credit cards that don’t require an annual fee, so why would anyone choose a card that requires them to pay every year? It’s all about the perks. Consider those holders of the exclusive American Express Centurion Card (it’s made out of titanium instead of plastic and charges a $7,500 initiation fee plus a $2,500 annual fee*).  Here’s how to decide if an annual-fee card is right for you. As a general rule of thumb, if you get more value in a year than you’re paying – monetary or otherwise – the fee is worth it. Do You Have Bad Credit? If you have bad credit, the value is in the opportunity to have more options (due to your improved credit) later. In other words, it may be your only option because you’ll likely struggle getting approved a credit card with no annual fee. But when you’re trying…

7 Personal Finance Milestones in Your 30s

We recently discussed 5 Personal Finance Milestones in Your 20s, and today are following up with the next decade. Today we dive into the most important personal finance milestones of your 30s. Buy a Home While there are many circumstances where renting makes sense, owning your own home is a major milestone in your personal finances. When you buy a home, you stop paying someone else to live in their property and instead build equity in your own. On the 20s milestones list, an important item to help help you with this goal was noted: saving a down payment. If you are able to save 20 percent of the purchase price of your target home, you should be in good position to qualify for a mortgage. Keep in mind mortgage interest is an expense, just like rent, so if you are able to make extra or additional payments on your…

Credit Cards: Fantastic Plastic or Financial Folly?

Credit cards. Are they good? Or are they evil? Are they an effective way to track and manage your spending? Or are they a road to a mountain of unmanageable debt? Throw those questions into a roomful of armchair money managers and you’ll have the makings of a lively discussion. The truth, as with so many things, rests somewhere in the middle. There are times when using a credit card is a great idea and there are times when you should probably keep the cards in your wallet and wait until you can pay cash. And actually, a credit card may not be right for you at all; perhaps your preferred plastic should be a debit card. There is only one situation in which you should always avoid using credit cards—if you aren’t in a position to pay your entire credit card balance each month. Carrying a balance on your…

10 Money Tips for New Grads

If you’re a new grad who’s feeling a little exhilarated, a little worn out and a little terrified about finding a job that pays the bills … take a deep breath. The great thing about this stage of your life is that while you have room to take your time, make mistakes and figure out what you want, you are also young enough to do a few key things right that will set you ahead of the crowd for years to come. Especially when it comes to money. Looking for financial advice after graduation? Here are ten tips to keep in mind: Follow Your Dreams … but Don’t Wait Around for Your Dream Job You’re smart, enthusiastic and ready to change the world – surely an employer will see that and offer you a job that pays well, has lots of vacation time and lets you make big decisions. Right?…

6 Holiday Tips to Improve Your Finances in 2018

If holiday shopping and social obligations have you seeing nothing but dollar signs, you can easily turn worried about your shrinking bank account and growing credit card debt into positive steps for the coming year. Take a little time now – in this busy month of December – to make small changes that will put you in better financial shape for 2018. Here are six tips to help you get started: Look Back At Your Spending If you mostly use credit and debit cards to cover your costs, it’s easy to look back through your statements for 2017 to figure out where your money went. It may be impossible to change your fixed costs – housing, utilities, car payments – but what about the decisions you make from week to week about what to buy and where to spend? You may find your lifestyle contributes to major cash outlays for…

7 Bad Money Habits That Can Ruin Your Finances

Habits can make or break our personal finance success. While good habits can help you build savings and live without financial stress, bad money habits can turn into a downward spiral of debt, fees and struggles. Making some small adjustments to your financial habits is easier than you may realize. Break these seven bad money habits to put yourself on track to a happy financial life. Making Only the Minimum Payment When you get a loan statement in the mail, whether it is from a credit card, mortgage or student loan, you can quickly find your minimum payment for the next month. The key word here is “minimum.” Paying only the minimum payment means you pay the maximum possible interest over the life of the loan. Every dollar you pay early saves you on interest every single month for the remainder of the loan’s life. The more you pay sooner…

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