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What are some of the causes of debt?

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

You may already know the most obvious reasons for debt and a few may surprise you. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Teaching kids how to save

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Parents would like their children to become responsible with money. Here are some things you can do to teach them about saving.

One way to encourage them to save is to give them a goal. Ideally this is to save for something that they really want and can be done in a short amount of time, like a CD or DVD rather than an iPod. This is a faster way to show them saving doesn’t have to take a long time.

Bouncing checks

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Sometimes your deposit and your debit don’t quite make it onto your checking account as planned. You look up your balance on the internet and the deposit is there. Are you safe in spending it?

Here is the story of a man in Georgia who does online banking. He made a deposit and checked his account and found the deposit was posted. Nothing was noted stating the deposit was on hold or the funds not available, so he wrote checks against this money. Several days later his bank returned his checks with fees for insufficient funds; stating the deposit was on hold. This notification was after the deposit was posted on the online statement. To make matters worse for him were the fees that the bank charged for the “bounced” checks totaled $400.00.

Credit cards can carry accidental death insurance

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Did you know that your credit card could carry accidental death insurance? Not many do, here are the details.

Your in line to purchase your plane ticket. Ever wonder whether you should pick up some insurance just in case? Well, not to worry, you may already have that extra insurance right in your wallet. Check your credit cards.

Each of the four major credit card brands (American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa) offer some form of coverage. This is what the insurance industry calls “accidental death and dismemberment” or AD&D coverage.

The benefits vary by brand and card type and can range in coverage from $100,000 to $1 million.

Some basic credit card terms defined.

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Have you ever read the fine print? Do you even know what the larger print means? Here are some definitions that will help you to better understand the “deal” you are getting when you apply for a credit card.

If you don’t understand what is being said, credit card offers and statements could lead you down the path to deep debt when you thought you were at 0% interest. Here is what some of the frequently used credit card terms mean:

What do you do with all the papers?

Monday, July 10th, 2006

You’re paying the bills and there isn’t any more room in the file cabinet or drawer, what do you do? Do you sit and wonder which are the important papers to keep and which ones can be thrown out?

A basic rule is to keep tax related documents for seven years. Following this you would want to keep any documentation to support your taxes for this amount of time as well.

Exceptions to the seven year rule of course would be investment or asset documentation (car and home purchases, stock or bonds that are still owned). The few documents you need to keep for life would include but may not be limited to birth, death and marriage certificates, adoption papers and divorce decrees, for example.

What is the relationship between gas prices and retirement?

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

The price of a gallon of gas is now above $3.00. Many are feeling the pain in their financial portfolio. How does this affect retirement?

Having paid more to drive in the last six months, three out of four Americans said higher living costs prevented them from saving more for retirement.

The Fidelity Retirement Index, which analyzes American households’ overall retirement readiness, found that among Americans whose savings plans were pinched by higher living costs, nearly one in two had cut the amount to be saved for retirement. Thus the higher price of gas has cut the amount going into savings toward retirement, that is how they are related.

Ready for retirement?

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Today’s retirement trends are changing. Are you saving savvy?

The conclusion per two recent studies are that Americans are over confident, have grossly under estimated the amount of money they will spend during retirement years as well as having a warped expectation of how much pensions and Social Security will provide. The end result of these rose colored glasses is that we have not saved enough for retirement.

These results shouldn’t be so surprising, media and experts have been telling us to save since the 1980s when 401(k) plans came into being and companies started shifting retirement savings responsibility onto the workers.

New VantageScores available online

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Remember back in March when VantageScore was introduced? Well now it is available online. For $5.95, Internet users will be able to check their VantageScores online through Experian. Experian is of three U.S. credit reporting bureaus that jointly developed the system.

This is the first time the VantageScores have been made available to the public.

VantageScore was introduced in March by the three major credit reporting agencies; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This system was being promoted as a simpler scoring method because it uses a single formula to evaluate consumer’s debt risk profile. Under FICO, each credit bureau uses a different method for calculating a consumer’s debt risk.

Children and allowances

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Those with children often wonder about allowances for their children. Here is something in regards to how much to give your child.

There are many schools of thought on this one. Is a dollar for each year of age appropriate or should they be given tasks with dollar values? Also, some children will promote receiving the amount that their friends get. None of these ideas or suggestions are of much help as they are not based on usage.

The best approach in figuring out an allowance is figuring out what the financial needs of the child are. Sounds pretty grown up, but consider that you already give them money and perhaps more than if they were on an allowance.

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