Borrowing

Identity theft is rampant in America. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, 16.7 million Americans were affected by identity theft just in the year 2017, with a total of $16.8 billion stolen – an average of just over $1,000 per affected American. Unfortunately, identity thieves steal more than just money. By extension, they steal your
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Life can be difficult without the convenience of a credit card – but if you are just starting out on your own and have no job yet, or you’re down on your luck and currently unemployed, will you be able to qualify for a credit card? The answer is yes, within limitations. When credit card
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Moving during the holidays can be a headache with all the seasonal activities and obligations – not to mention unpleasant weather in many locations. However, there are plenty of positives to buying a home during the holidays that may make the headaches of moving worth the effort, including the seven listed below. 1. Less Competition
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By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm It’s a constant struggle to stay afloat financially on disability income. Many disabled persons have credit card debt they can’t pay, often incurred before they were disabled. What can disabled persons do about telephone calls and letters from collectors? What happens if you are sued? As
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Your checking account is a tempting target for thieves. You must stay alert for the many varieties of checking account scams – but first, you must be able to recognize a scam when you see one. Have you ever been targeted by any of the scams below? Free Prizes – This scam usually starts with
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Did your credit card limit unexpectedly decrease? If so, would you believe the good economy is the reason why? Capital One and Discover, two of America’s largest credit card issuers, recently announced a tightening of credit card limits despite the strong economy. Both companies cite risk management as the reason. While the economy may be
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Do you know how your mortgage loan officer is compensated? You should if you plan to buy a home, because your loan officer’s compensation could have the potential to affect your mortgage loan – and proposed new changes could amplify the effects. At the beginning of 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) significantly changed
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What brightens up your holiday shopping season? You may prefer a quiet Christmas season at home, large family gatherings at the home of the relative who drew the short straw, or hand-to-hand combat on Black Friday at the mall. However, everyone agrees that saving money on Christmas shopping gives the holiday an extra layer of
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Student loan debt in America has topped $1.5 trillion dollars, and millennials hold a large amount of that debt burden. As of 2017, 37.5% of Americans with student loan debt were under the age of thirty. A new study by MagnifyMoney highlights the difficulties millennials face because of their debt. Since student debt draws money
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You’re never too old to learn new things – including better money management practices. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) agrees. To address financial literacy concerns, the FDIC created the Money Smart teaching program in 2001 to help educators and financial institutions increase consumer understanding of basic financial systems work and how to use them
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Nearing the Limit The housing market has suffered from excess demand and limited supply for years, causing a sharp increase in home prices. Add continually increasing interest rates to the mix, and eventually something has to give. The turning point may have arrived. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report shows that home prices are still rising,
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Since 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has helped qualified homeowners with limited equity in their homes find affordable refinancing. After seven program extensions, HARP is scheduled to end December 31, 2018, when new assistance programs from the mortgage-loan-backing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will take its place. In the wake of the
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You have several credit cards and a couple of killer rewards programs. Why not put them to good use and charge every purchase that you can? It’s smart to get the most out of your credit cards, but do so within a budget and with one thought in mind – “Is a credit card the
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The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has arguably been one of the most successful programs to assist homeowners affected by the subprime mortgage crisis. According to HousingWire, almost 3.5 million homeowners have been assisted by the program, with around 1 million of those homeowners having been underwater (owing more on their home than it was
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A reverse mortgage allows you to convert the equity in your home to cash that you can use for other purposes. Essentially, you’re selling your home back to a lender in increments. It’s a popular method for seniors to supplement living expenses. Repayments don’t begin until the owner permanently moves out of the home, passes
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In September 2017, America learned about the massive data breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax that affected approximately 148 million consumers – one of the largest breaches ever. Identity thieves suddenly acquired a new batch of Social Security numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information. Consumers were advised to take steps immediately
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Zombie debt refers to old unpaid debt, declared dead and uncollectable long ago, that rises from the grave to ingest the bank accounts of the living. Who are the mad financial scientists that create this zombie debt, and how can you thwart them when it comes for you? The zombie masters, if you will, are
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What’s the benefit of having a credit card? That’s easy – it allows you to buy things with money you don’t currently have. (Of course, that may also be the biggest drawback of having a credit card, if you can’t control your spending.) All credit cards allow basic purchases, but what specific benefits draw you
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Finding a job can be a stressful and difficult task – and if you have poor credit, you may have an even harder time finding a job. A 2016 CareerBuilder study found that almost one-third of employers run credit checks on their potential hires, on the assumption that people with good credit are more likely
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The Crushing Effects Of Medical Debt How pervasive is America’s medical debt problem? According to 2017 data from the credit bureau Experian, unpaid medical debt in America topped $127 billion. New data from Consumer Reports shows that almost 30% of insured Americans had unpaid medical debt turned over to collection agencies in the past two
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Do you know how to read your credit report? If not, it’s time to learn. Your credit score is one of the primary items that lenders check when approving your credit request, and the information in your credit report is used to calculate your credit score. If you never check your credit report, you can’t
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By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm I just got off the phone with a senior couple who have a timeshare they can’t afford and don’t use any longer. They had called a company who advertised that they help people get out of timeshares. (I hear such advertisements on the radio and television
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You need cash to pay an important bill, and you haven’t got it. What do you do? Many Americans turn to payday loans to fill this gap, even though the interest rates are staggering – an average of nearly 400% APR. A recent survey by CNBC Make It and Morning Consult found that all generations
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