more for your money on your next vacation
is here and millions of Americans will be taking their annual
vacations. There are some simple steps you can take to make
sure your vacation lives up to your dreams and doesn't devolve
into a fiscal nightmare.
your research. Most tourist attractions have Web sites or
toll-free numbers, so it's easy to get directions, hours
of operation and fees, as well as make reservations before
your trip. A quick call can save you from a three-hour drive
to a "Closed for Repairs" sign.
a vacation budget. Visa USA sponsors a free Web site, Practical
Money Skills for Life, which contains a handy tool called
the Travel Wizard, an interactive budget-planning calculator.
It walks you through the process of preparing a travel budget
for transportation, meals, hotels, entertainment expenses
and more. It helps you decide between necessary and flexible
expenses, and to make budget adjustments before it's too
late. Go to www.practicalmoneyskills.com/calculators
around. Many airlines charge higher rates to book flights
by phone or through a travel agent compared to online, so
take a few minutes to visit the airlines' Web sites. Several
other sites, including Expedia.com and Orbitz.com, allow
you to compare fares from a variety of airlines, hotels
and rental car companies, side by side. Another good tip:
Airfares to more remote airports may be significantly less
expensive than their more popular - and crowded - alternatives.
the unexpected. Even short trips can be plagued by unanticipated
expenses, so if you're not careful, you might end up paying
for your vacation for months afterward. Build a cushion
into your budget for unanticipated events - like a flat
tire or an Emergency Room visit.
forget paperwork. Make sure you bring along copies your
medical and auto insurance information. It's also a good
idea to carry your credit card companies' toll-free numbers
in case your wallet should be stolen (keep the list somewhere
else in your luggage).
abreast of current events. If you're going abroad, watch
for news reports about public unrest, outbreaks of disease
or employment strikes at your destination, and try to have
a back-up plan. The U.S. State Department maintains a list
of current warnings in foreign countries at www.travel.state.gov
safely. Sometimes on holiday your guard is down and you
do things you never would ordinarily. For example, if you've
been driving for hours and are tired or inattentive, pull
over for a rest. Read up on traffic regulations in other
states or countries you visit. And be aware of your surroundings:
Having your wallet disappear is not how you want to remember
this vacation.And remember to have fun. This is your vacation
- if you do a little work in advance, you can play the whole
tip for the week of July 10, 2006
TIPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
Use credit cards wisely because this is a chance to establish
a solid credit history. Watch the interest rates. Don't be
suckered by low introductory rates. Expect the interest rate,
or annual percentage rate (APR), to climb above 20% in three
to six months. Don't use the card for routine living expenses
or a night on the town.
Remember: Credit is a loan--and it doesn't come from The Bank
of Dad. That means any balance on the credit card must be
repaid. Get a card with a low limit. Shop around for the best
deal and read the fine print before signing up. If you move,
inform the bank of your new address. Guard your credit card
number and close unused accounts.
Shop around before opening a checking account. Smaller banks
may offer a better deal. Compare fees. Ask if there's a fee
for dealing with a teller, including deposits or withdrawals.
Ask if there's a fee to use a debit card. Ask about ATM fees.
Ask if overdraft protection is part of the student package.
If not, ask about linking such coverage to a bank-issued credit
Open a savings account. Establish a savings plan and kick
in a little money each week. Stick with it. Compound interest
is a wonderful thing and it's always wise to have a little
extra tucked away.
Use cash whenever possible because counting out the bills
underscores the connection between the purchased item and
money leaving your wallet. Use a debit card before a credit
card for the same reason. Keep track of spending because a
budget means nothing without accurate accounting.
Mad money should be sane and sober. Set a limit for walking-around
money and stick to it. Hitting up the ATM for another fistful
of crisp twenties is easy--and guaranteed to deplete your
Remember this Yankee adage: Use it up, wear it out, make do
or do without. If you learn to say no to that fancy stereo,
ski trip or new set of duds, you'll be ahead of the pack.
Consider buying used textbooks. Shop at second-hand stores.
The look isn't frumpy--it's professorial.
Apply for scholarships. This requires digging and persistence.
See what's available. Don't be bashful. If you have a shot,
apply. If it's a long shot, how can you go wrong for the price
of a stamp?
Check out college work-study programs. A few jobs may be related
to your studies. Otherwise, look for a job with tips such
as waiting tables, parking cars or delivering pizza. If you
hustle, tips will exceed the hourly wage. Summer work is a
necessity for many students, but don't overlook internships--they're
a good way to get a taste of what you may make a career and
establish contacts in the field.
Leave the car at home. The insurance, maintenance and gas
will eat you alive. Most university towns are compact and
everything you need will be within walking distance of campus.
If some of your friends have a car, great--let them cover
Avoid unnecessary expenses at all costs. Parking fines are
a tax on stupidity or laziness. Read the signs and follow
the rules. This goes for little things like returning library
books or videos. Pay your bills on time or you'll get stuck
with a late fee.
Clip coupons. Many businesses give students discounts in an
effort to establish a relationship that will continue when
they enter the real world and start earning a paycheck. Take
advantage of the perks. Be on the lookout for deals on plane
tickets, pizza, books, clothes--everything. The student newspaper
is a good place to start. The Internet can be a gold mine
a lunch. This will save you big bucks. Don't eat regularly
at fast-food restaurants because it will reduce your bank
account while bloating your belly. At the supermarket, buy
the house brand and increase your savings. Never shop on an
for the Week of July 5, 2006.
for the Week of June 26, 2006.
need is determined by comparing the total resources available to
the total costs. If the total resources are greater than or equal
to the total costs, then there is enough money for school! If the
total resources are less than the total costs, then the budget must
be reviewed to see if costs can be trimmed or resources increased.
Budget tips are provided below to help students find a way to develop
a sustainable budget for the year.
- Plan ahead! Know ahead of time what your
financial position will look like, and how much money you will
need to come to school.
- Don't waste your summer! If your budget
shows that you need more money to attend school, then make sure
you work over the summer.and save as much money for school as
- Apply for student loans. In Ontario ,
students can apply for government financial assistance through
the Ontario Student Assistance Program (aka OSAP). If you are
from another province you can apply through your home province
for government funding.
- If you don't qualify for government student
loans, you and your family may qualify for private education loans
or student lines of credit offered through a bank - shop around
since loan products vary from bank to bank. You and your family
may benefit from a preferred lending rate at your regular bank
based on your financial history. While government student loans
are the best bet for students, bank education loans can be a good
alternative - they have competitive interest rates (compared to
government student loans) and usually you just pay monthly interest
payments while you are in school.
- Apply for all bursaries and scholarships
for which you qualify. As these types of awards are non-repayable,
the more you can get, the better. Many of these are offered through
the school, but check out other possibilities based on you and
your family's situation and connections. Some of the types of
affiliations that could offer scholarships or bursaries are: your
or your parent's employer, your hometown/location, your citizenship,
special skills, club affiliations, extracurricular activities,
cultural or religious affiliations, veterans' groups, and unions.
- Exercise your budgeting skills! Check
your budget on a weekly basis once you start school. This will
help keep you on track and avoid a crisis. As a student, you will
probably find that the majority of your funds come at the beginning
of each semester (such as through student loans) and that much
less of it comes on a regular basis (such as through part-time
employment). A school year budget will help you manage your funds
and spending so that you don't unexpectedly come up short mid-way
through the semester or year.
- Take advantage of services and programs
offered by school, such as student financial assistance workshops,
bursary programs, one-on-one advising and referrals. In addition,
there's lots of information on our web site to help you with your
- Look closely at your budget and trim costs
where you can. Something will always come up, so it is important
that you have been frugal most of the time, so that you can splurge
once in a while.
- Be wary of credit cards! Limit yourself
to one or two cards with a low annual or no annual fee. Many banks
offer student credit cards with special terms geared towards meeting
student needs. Shop around to find the best product for your situation.
In addition, paying off your balance each month will ensure that
you do not end up paying for the item or service you have purchased
two to three times (the interest on most credit cards adds up
very quickly). If you manage your credit card debt well, and repay
your debt in a timely manner, you will be able to establish a
good credit history. Just be careful with accumulating credit
card debt - being a student is hard enough without the added pressure
of this monthly debt.
- Get a part-time job. The College offers
many part-time employment opportunities through work-study programs.
Jobs are posted in September and fill up quickly, so apply early.
We also have a job board that lists available positions off-campus.
We recommend that you work no more than 10-15 hours per week so
that you will still have plenty of time for your classes and homework.
Unless you have had experience juggling part-time work and school,
you may find that working more than this many hours per week has
a negative effect on your studies.
- If you are in a financial crunch, don't
try to hide from it or walk away from school. Talk to someone
in the Financial Aid & Awards office. We can help!
for the Week of June 19, 2006.
WAYS TO PAY
are many ways to finance college. Consider all your options.
some time before college?
is a major life expense-somewhere between purchasing a new car and
buying a home-so be strategic and get creative when trying to come
up with the money for college.
for the Week of June 12, 2006.
Tips For Students
of financial knowledge plays a significant role in credit card management.
The majority of respondents (54.5%) have never taken a course on
economics, money management or personal finance. Therefore, it is
important for parents to involve college students in a discussion
with their financial advisor to prioritize debt, restructure interest
costs, maximize credit card payments and provide advice on how to
stop feeding credit card habits such as:
Create a budget for living expenses and stick to it
Plan all purchases and never go into a store without a list
Wait until cash is available to buy big-ticket items * Don't shop
for fun and forget the mall for recreation
Use credit for emergencies only -- not to pay for day-to-day living
Pay off balances in full. If you cannot, at least make sure you
have the credit card with the lowest APR possible
If you must incur debt to pay tuition and fees, evaluate all options
including student loans and financial aid, which typically carry
better financing terms than credit cards
part of its Generation X Financial Education Program, OppenheimerFunds,
together with a panel of college students and money experts, developed
the following tips on how to save more and spend less:
Skip the lattes -- if you eliminate two $3.50 lattes a week for
the 35 week school year, you will save $245.00 which can grow to
$28,180 by age 65 (assuming an 11.12% return in the S&P 500
Use the campus workout facility instead of paying expensive fees
for a gym membership. Take advantage of what your campus offers
by attending on-campus activities or using career services.
Stay away from takeout, especially late at night. Try to use your
cafeteria on campus as much as possible. You'll save $15 out of
your pocket, as well as save your waistline from the dreaded "freshman
Repair items instead of buying them new. Before replacing shoes,
clothing, or even expensive items like computers, make every attempt
to get them fixed first.
Get a massage or a pair of jeans -- not both. You don't need to
have it all. If you indulge in one area, make sure to cut back expenses
ATM. Stay on top of how much you take out of the ATM and balance
your checkbook regularly. ATM fees can add up quickly. Look for
no-fee ATMs or withdraw directly from a teller at your bank.
Take advantage of student discounts. Take advantage of your "student
status" while you have it, especially when you start a new semester.
Many stores offer student discounts and saving a little here and
there can really add up.
Get in the savings habit. Spending less to save more doesn't mean
living a life of deprivation. Small changes can add up to big savings.
Instead of giving your local coffeehouse or the movies an extra
$30 every month, give it to yourself.
Start to map your financial future. Develop a plan early on-short-term
for the school year and long-term for after graduation.
Tip for the Week of May
Options for Paying for
School College and training programs can be expensive,
and for the most part, students and parents are expected to pay these
planning will help you and your family evaluate future income
potential and costs of suitable schools
, as well as current and future financial resources. This will
help you decide how much you can afford for your education. Many
states also offer pre-paid
tuition programs that are worthwhile to check out.
The cost of an education
can vary widely depending on the type
of school , the program of study, and the region of the country
where your school is located. Average tuition and fees (based on
Board figures from the 2003-04 academic year, not including
room and board) are as follows:
Four-Year Private: $19,710
Two-Year Public: $1,905
more specific cost information, contact the schools you're interested
in attending, or visit IPEDS
College Opportunities On-Line .
forget to check out all your possibilities for help - parents, relatives,
summer savings, cooperative education programs, AmeriCorps
, and part-time jobs can all offer alternative sources of financing
is a domestic Peace Corps that engages more than 40,000 Americans
in service to local and national organizations. Once their term
of service is completed, AmeriCorps members receive education awards
that assist them in financing their college education or paying
back student loans.
also might consider service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Besides
developing skills such as leadership, perseverance, and discipline,
time spent in the military also can provide education
benefits and training that transfers to the civilian world.
people cannot afford to pay for the full cost of higher education.
aid programs are available to help you. Scholarships,
grants , work-study
are all types of financial aid -- some of which you may receive
if you complete the necessary applications.
your finances may be a new experience. It is a big responsibility.
If you choose to take out a student loan, planning should begin
before you take out the loan. By developing budgets to cover both
the time you are in school and the period after graduation, you
can make an informed decision about how much you will need to borrow
for your training and how much you can afford to borrow and realistically
expect to pay. Generally, a manageable level of education
debt payment is considered to be from 8 percent to 15 percent
of your first year's gross income.
obtain more information, contact the financial aid office at the
school you plan to attend, your high school guidance counselor,
or send a message to the Mapping
Your Future Team .
for the Week of May 22, 2006.
10 steps for students who want to handle credit wisely
Always remember that credit is a loan. It's real money that you
must repay. Before you apply for the first card, decide what the
card will be used for -- Emergencies only? School supplies? -- and
determine how the monthly bills will be paid.
2. Go slowly. Get one card with a low limit and use it responsibly
before you even consider getting another.
3. Shop around for the best deal. Try Bankrate.com's most recent
survey of student credit cards.
4. Study your card agreement closely, and always read the fine-print
flyers enclosed with every bill. Credit card offers differ substantially,
and the issuer usually can change the terms at will with 15 days
5. Try to pay off your total balance each month. Just paying
the minimum is a trap : If you try to pay off a $1,000 debt
on an 18 percent card by just paying the minimum each month, it
would take more than 12 years to repay.
pay on time . A single slip-up will place a black mark on your
credit record -- and could cause the card issuer to jack up your
interest rate to the max.
Set a budget, follow it closely and watch how much you're paying
on credit. A good rule of thumb is to keep your debt payments below
10 percent of your net income after taxes. So if you take home $750
a month, spend no more than $75 a month on credit.
in touch with your issuer by notifying the company promptly
when you move. In the eve nt you must be late on a payment, call
before it's late. Card companies want your business for life, so
they may be willing to make alternate payment arrangements that
won't leave a mark on your credit rating.
accounts you aren't using. Having available-but-unused credit
can count against you when it comes time to buy a car. That's because
lenders don't like it when you have the ability to quickly go deep
At the first sign of credit danger, such as using one card to pay
off another, make the card harder to use. Only carry it when you
plan to use it,lock it up in an inaccessible place or entrust it
to your parents.
for the Week of May 15, 2006.
you're young, take a seat and listen up. These gems will help you
on your quest for financial success.
Go to college. You may want to do something that doesn't require
a college degree. For instance, you may dream of playing professional
golf or running a barn and training horses. But give serious consideration
to enrolling in college anyway. Yes, it's a major
investment , but if your parents are unable to help you pay
for it, make it happen yourself, even if it means taking out loans.
One way to save on costs: Go to a community college first; then
transfer to a four-year university after two years.
easier to get a degree when you're young than when you have a home,
family and all the adult responsibilities that go with these things.
Your earnings potential increases significantly with a college degree
-- which will come in handy if your other dreams don't materialize.
Plus, you will likely experience a love of learning that you will
Find your purpose. If you're having trouble figuring out what you
want to do with your life, look within. You were born with certain
talents and natural abilities. You know which subjects you excel
in and which ones you struggle with. Choose a career that enables
you to maximize your gifts in a way that fulfills you or helps others.
As you grow, your career may change along with your desires. But
for now, gravitate toward a field that feels like home.
Begin retirement planning with your first job. This tip is so important.
If the company you work for offers a 401(k) plan, sign up at your
first opportunity. If there's no such plan, divert some of your
paycheck into an IRA. Believe it or not, if you're lucky, one day
you'll find you are older, so it's best to be
prepared . Setting up automatic contributions to either one
of these retirement vehicles at a young age will help you build
as an example, let's say you invest $200 a month beginning at age
25, and you earn 7 percent annually on that money. By the time you
turn 65, you will have about $525,000 saved up. If you wait until
you're 35 to begin saving, assuming the same monthly investment
and rate of return, you'll have amassed less than half that amount
-- about $244,000. This illustration simply shows the impact that
a 10-year head start can make on your savings, thanks to the magic
of compounding. Do the math yourself with Bankrate's retirement
for the week of May 8, 2006
4 Cs of Credit
about what lenders look for when loaning you money? One way to better
understand how lenders use credit reports is by knowing the 4Cs
of credit. A credit report helps a lender determine the following:
to repay the loan
the loan be repaid?
and amount of credit used
payment of bills
there something of value that the borrower agrees to surrender if
the loan is not repaid?
assets that could be used to repay the debt
for week of May 1, 2006
Five Money Mistakes Made by College Students
Student Credit Card Debt Tops the List of
Money Mistakes College Student Mistake #1: Getting Into Credit Card Debt
In addition to student
loans, the average undergraduate college student in 2004 had four
credit cards and $2,169 in credit card debt. Final year students
had the highest balances, at an average of $2,864. The average graduate
student had $5,800 in credit card debt, according to Nellie Mae,
the nation's largest maker of student loans. At interest rates of
15 to 18%, you may be paying off this credit card debt into your
30s and 40s. See Money
and the College Student: Leave College Without Credit Card Debt
Credit Crisis: Avoid Piling Up Debt in College .
Mistake #2: Squandering Your Student Loan Money
Use your student loan money to finance your education, not your
Tuition, room and board, and textbooks are smart ways to spend your
student loan money. Eating out, buying CDs, clothes, going on spring
break, or otherwise bankrolling your social life, are not. You'll
be paying these loans off for ten to 20 years, so use the money
College Student Mistake
#3: Ruining Your Credit Score
The way you handle your
credit card debt will follow you for many years. If you max out
your credit line, don't pay your bills on time, and collect credit
cards like they were going out of style, you'll have a poor credit
score after you graduate that will make it difficult to get an apartment,
obtain a car loan, get a home loan, or even find a job. Learn how
to handle credit cards responsibly, and then do so. See What
You Need to Know About Your FICO Credit Score .
Mistake #4: Not Budgeting
A budget is a planning
tool that empowers you to handle your money smartly; it's not financial
handcuffs. It helps you plan ahead by knowing how much money you
have coming in and going out. It gives you the peace of mind of
knowing you won't run out of money. Not having a budget is like
sailing a boat in the fog without radar. See How
To Set Up a Successful Budget , Budgeting:
First Step in Financial Planning , and College
Budget Worksheet .
Mistake #5: Choosing a College That's Too Expensive
It's not that important
where you spend your first two years in college. Attend a community
college while getting your general education requirements out of
the way, then transfer to the school of your choice for the courses
in your major. What matters is where you graduate. You'll save tens
of thousands of dollars, which you'll appreciate when you're trying
to pay off your student loans after you graduate and find that money
is stretched so thin that you're still dining on Ramen Noodles.
In-state public universities are another much cheaper alternative
than out of state schools or private schools.
The Bottom Line
Smart use of your money
and your credit in college will enable you to spend the money you
earn when you graduate on things you really want (a new car, a nice
apartment or house, a great wardrobe, travel, or whatever) instead
of all your disposable income going towards debt repayment.
Week of April 24, 2006
Rising Gas Prices
If you drive a typical vehicle
in America you're getting about 21 mpg. Travel 12,000 miles a year
and you'll spend about nine hours pumping 575 gallons of gas at
a cost of $1,285. If you drive a car that gets 40 mpg you would
save almost three hours a year by not pumping 275 gallons gas and
save about $610.
Why wait for to buy a car
with higher gas mileage? You can cut your gas bill by almost $300
and save a few hours of pumping gas by doing these three simple
Replace your car's air filter
to improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.
Inflate your tires to the
recommended pressure to improve gas mileage by 3.3%.
Drive the speed limit to
improve gas mileage by up to 10%.
are 9 steps from Mapping-Your-Future.org that will help you to establish
Make a list of your values.
Set your goals.
Determine your income.
Determine your expenses.
5. Create a spending plan.
6. Pay yourself first!
7. Be careful with credit cards.
8. Keep track of your expenses.
9. Periodically evaluate your spending plan.
read the article in its entirety, please go to:
1, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which could
make consolidating your student loans a less attractive option.
Some of the changes would include doing away with the fixed interest
rate in consolidation and replacing it with a variable interest
rate not to exceed 6.8%, the elimination of in-school consolidation,
and PLUS interest rates rising from 7.9% to 8.5%.
read more about the Deficit Reduction Act, please go to:
find out the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for in 2006 and
other helpful articles such as the most lucrative college degrees,
the latest in professor's pay scales, and more, please check out
the following articles and resources:
requirements from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
will increase the minimum payment on credit card bills to about
4%, which is approximately double the current amount. These new
requirements are designed to help customers. Requiring a larger
portion of the payment to go towards the principal will allow the
customer to pay off the bill in a significantly shorter period of
time and could save thousands of dollars in interest. Consider this
example from "Warning! Raising the Minimum Payment," A
$10,000 balance at 18% would require about 58 years to pay off and
cost $28,930.64 in interest at the 2% minimum payment rate. If the
minimum payment were 4%, it would take 15 years to pay off and cost
$5,915.67 in interest... a savings of over $23,000.
more information, please go to:
Internal Revenue Service has reported receiving numerous complaints
from consumers who have received fraudulent emails claiming to be
from the IRS. Recipients are then directed to a phony IRS site were
they are asked to provide sensitive personal and financial information.
is defined by Computerworld magazine "as a technique used to
gain personal information for purposes of identity theft, using
fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from legitimate businesses.
These authentic-looking messages are designed to fool recipients
into divulging personal data such as account numbers and passwords,
credit card numbers and Social Security numbers." The IRS does
not send out unsolicited emails and offers the following advice:
IRS never sends out unsolicited emails, and under no circumstances,
requests credit card information and pin numbers through email.
Persons receiving emails that claim to be from the IRS should not
attempt to visit any site contained within the email and should
report suspicious emails to TIGTA or IRS.
of these emails should notify the TIGTA toll-free Hotline at 1-800-366-4484
or via TIGTA's
Web site .
more information, please go to: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154848,00.html
three major credit reporting agencies--Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion--have
recently announced that they will be introducing a new credit scoring
system, "VantageScore." It is expected that the new scoring
system will be able to provide a consistent credit score across
all three credit reporting agencies. The new VantageScore ratings
will range from 501-990 (the higher the score, the lower the risk
for creditors), as opposed to current FICO scores which range from
300-850. The new scores may also be "graded" using the
familiar academic scoring scale, looking something like this:
more information on VantageScore, please consult their web site:
suggests these 7 steps to prioritize your finances:
. Create a "starter" emergency fund. Bankrate.com considers
$1,000 to be enough for most people but if you expect
that you may experience more costly emergencies or if your income
is a little higher then you may want to save more.
. Pay off all of your debts one at a time until they are paid off.
. Once you have paid down your debt the next step is to build your
emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of expenses.
. Fully fund your pre-tax retirement savings.
. Create a college fund for your kids.
. Pay off your mortgage early.
. Build wealth and enjoy your financial independence.
read this article in its entirety, please go to: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20040317a2.asp.
Financial Aid Office at Cal State Fullerton offers this advice regarding
choosing a lender, it's important to recognize you may have a business
relationship with this lender for 10 years or even longer after
you leave school. While all lenders offer Federal Stafford loans
at the same beginning interest rate, many lenders offer discounts
on loan fees as well as rebates and other incentives once you receive
your loan disbursement or enter repayment. It pays to shop around
before selecting a lender.
We recommend you review the web sites of various lenders (links
are available from our preferred lender
list ) and compare borrower benefits. You may also want to call
two or three lenders and ask them why you should choose them as
your student loan lender. By investing a little time in comparing
lenders' policies and services, you may save money over the life
of your loan.
Office of Financial Aid
Credit Scores Work, How a Score is Calculated
wonder why you can go online and be approved for credit within 60
seconds? Or get pre qualified for a car without anyone even asking
you how much money you make? Or why you get one interest rate on
loans, while your neighbor gets another? The answer is credit scoring.
scale runs from 300 to 850. The vast majority of people will have
scores between 600 and 800. A score of 720 or higher will get you
the most favorable interest rates on a mortgage, according to data
from Fair Isaac Corp., a California-based company that developed
the credit score. (Its own score is called the FICO score.)
Fair Isaac reports that the American public's credit scores break
out along these lines:
|499 and below
|800 and above
read this article in its entirety please click on the link below:
credit score is based on the information in your credit report.
According to myFICO.com, your credit score is based on the following
factors in the weights represented on the graph below:
read more about how credit scores work click on the link below:
October 28, 2004 a new federal law called Check
21 was enacted allowing banks to process more checks electronically
in an effort to make check processing faster and more efficient.
Previously, checks were physically moved from one bank to another;
however, as a result of electronic processing, checks will be processed
much more quickly. Thus, it is more important than ever to be certain
that you have enough money in your account to cover the checks that
you write and not try to cover a check (or checks) later. For more
information you can go to http://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/truncation/
The Federal Reserve Board
to a study released by AOL and the National Cyber Security Alliance,
about 1 in 4 internet users are targeted by email scams designed
to obtain personal information. About 70% of those receiving the
phony emails were deceived by the emails. The study also found that
"phishers" are given a lot of to work with as nearly three-quarters
of those surveyed said that they use their computers for sensitive
transactions such as banking, stock trading, or reviewing medical
information. Tatiana Platt, SVP at AOL, said that many people also
do not have adequate security to protect against viruses, hackers,
and other threats.
60% Solution" is a spending plan that's part budget and part financial
philosophy. The key part of "The 60% Solution" is limiting what
Richard Jenkins calls "committed expenses" or essential spending
at 60% of your total income. Committed expenses include basic food
and clothing needs, essential household expenses, insurance premiums,
charitable contributions, all bills, and all taxes. The remaining
40% should be distributed as follows:
to retirement savings
to long-term savings for down payments, home repairs or other
large infrequent expenses.
to short-term savings for irregular expenses such as minor home
or car repairs
for "fun money" or basically whatever you choose to spend your
read more about "The 60% Solution" please consult:
is recommended that student loan payment should not exceed 10% of
your gross monthly income. The table below from USA Funds provides
guidelines for borrowing based on annual starting salaries.
Affordable Student Loan Debt
Borrowing for College, USA Funds (2003). Table assumes
monthly payments do not exceed 10% of your gross monthly income,
level payments over 120 months and a constant interest rate of 8.25%.
choose to OPT
OUT of unsolicited offers from credit issuers and insurance
companies. You may either call or write the three credit bureaus
(Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) to be removed from these
lists. Telephone requests are valid for two years. For telephone
requests, please call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688). The addresses
for the three credit bureaus are:
Name Removal Option
701 Experian Parkway P.O.
GA 30374-0123 Allen, TX 75013
Woodlyn, PA 19094
you ever wonder what information is contained in the black stripe
on the back of your credit and/or debit cards? Well, according
to MSN Money, it probably has two "information tracks"
that can be read by credit card readers. the first usually contains
your name, the card's expiration date,the credit limit, and your
PIN (Personal Identification Number). While the second track has
your account number, the date you opened the account, and other
answers to other questions on credit cards, please to to:
are some tips from Consumer Action's "Giving Yourself Some
Credit" publication on ways to protect yourself:
read the rest of this publication please go to:
are dreams with a due date. To achieve your goals, substitute imagination
for will power. If you can't see it in your mind, you won't see
it in your life. Start with imagining yourself already having accomplished
the change you want. If this doesn't inspire you, then imagine the
opposite for a moment. What will life be like if you don't change
what you have been doing? Insanity of defined as is continuing to
do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Re-solutions imply a commitment to new solutions, a commitment to
doing things differently.
change your life for the better, you must first change your attitude
and before you can change your attitude, you must change your beliefs.
people are much more motivated to act not by what they know, but
by how they feel about what they know."
Money Mastery in Just Minutes a Day by Fred Waddell.
goals are SMART:
Goals should be specific enough
to suggest action.
You need to know when you
have achieved your goal, or how close you are. Goals which aren't
measurable are much harder to achieve.
The steps toward reaching
your goal need to be reasonable and possible.
The goals needs to make sense.
You don't need to work toward a goal that doesn't fit your need.
Set a definite target date.
Practical Money Skills for Consumers.
to Keep Your Credit Rating Strong
- Complete credit applications carefully
and always use the same name.
- Use your credit cards responsibly to establish
a positive pattern of paying your bills on time, but don't let
them reach their limits or spend beyond your means.
- Always pay your bills on time and make
at least the minimum payment.
- If you move, let your creditors know your
new address as soon as possible to avoid losing bills or receiving
- If you have problems paying your bills,
contact your creditors. In many cases, they will work with you
to figure out a payment plan.
Practical Money Skills for Life.
Credits reduce your tax, not
just your income. You may claim only one of these credits for the
same student in the same tax year. The credits phase out as income
rises from $42,000 to $52,000 ($85,000 to $105,000, joint return).
- Hope Credit applies only for the first
two years of higher education and can be worth up to $1,500 per
eligible student, per year.
- Lifetime Learning Credit-applies to most
higher education, including non-degree courses, with a maximum
credit of $2,000 per return (regardless of the number of qualifying
Internal Revenue Service
is important to remember when borrowing for college to borrow
only what you need. Be conservative. If you must borrow,
then borrow only what you need to cover college related expenses,
for example, tuition and books, housing, meals, transportation,
and personal expenses. When the time comes to repay your loans you
will have other financial obligations as well as your living expenses,
taxes, and other debts.
Sallie Mae/College Answer
are a few simple ways to cut back on your spending:
- Establish a budget and stick to it.
- Save your loose change for unexpected
- Ask abut student discounts.
- Pack a lunch and take it to school with
- Buy used books.
few cents saved here and there means less money that you have to
Sallie Mae/College Answer
What You Should Do
you see an advertisement that interests you, ask yourself these
you read, listen to, or watch the advertisement:
- Be aware of fraud and deception in the
- Be alert to ads that are misleading.
- Read the fine print, or listen carefully.
Practical Money Skills for Life.
Ways to Reach Your Financial Goals:
- Start right now by getting the advice
and information you need to create a plan today.
- Contribute the maximum to your employer's
401(k) or retirement plan.
- Invest in an IRA.
- Match your retirement strategy to where
you are in your life.
- Be realistic in your needs.
- Don't touch your retirement savings.
- Set aside 6 months of salary for an emergency.
- Pay yourself first.
- Invest regularly.
read this article in its entirety, please go to:
September 2005, all consumers will be eligible for one free credit
report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian,
and Trans Union). Monitoring your credit reports for inaccuracies
and evidence of fraud is an effective way to protect yourself from
identity theft. Instead of ordering your credit reports from all
3 bureaus at once, it may be a good idea to stagger them over a
few months so that you can review them more often.
read other articles on this subject please go to:
sure to notify all of your lenders/loan holders in writing within
10 days of any changes to your address, telephone number, or your
enrollment status. It's critical for your lender to be able to contact
you with important loan information. If you don't keep your lender
informed, you may encounter significant problems down the line.
it isn't our normal expenses that keep us from sticking to the budget,
or spending plan, that we have set for ourselves. More often than
not, it is the little things that trip us up like that cup of Starbuck's
coffee every morning at $3.00 a cup. That $3.00 a day, 5 days
a week, adds up to $780 in a year!