Today’s top story: Personal finance tips from big data companies. Also in the news: Why more seniors are being duped out of their money, the right amount to have in your emergency savings and ten ways to best spend $1000.
Three Personal Finance Tips From Big Data
Analyzing your spending habits.
More Seniors Getting Swindled Out of Money
Preying on some of our most vulnerable
How Much Is in Your Emergency Fund?
What is your emergency sweet spot?”
We asked a palm reader and a financial adviser how to handle our money
Who came out on top?
10 Smart Ways to Spend $1,000
And possibly double your money.
Today’s top story: Five areas of personal finance that you can’t afford to ignore. Also in the news: How your unhappy relationship could affect your wallet, what to do when a friend sends a debt collector after you, and how you can be rewarded for waiting to purchase something online.
Personal Finance: 5 Areas You Can’t Ignore
Paying attention to the basics.
5 money habits of unhappy couples
When relationship angst affects your wallet.
Can a Friend Send a Debt Collector After Me?
With friends like these…
The Retailers Who Will Reward You for Abandoning Your Shopping Cart
Waiting a little bit could save you money.
Dear Liz: My husband works for the government and will be receiving a pension when he retires. Am I still supposed to save the recommended amount for retirement from my income or can that amount be reduced since we know we have the pension? We are starting a family and could use any extra money we can get right now.
Answer: If your husband is just a few years away from collecting that pension, counting on it to be there is reasonable. Since you’re just starting a family, though, it’s much more likely that retirement is decades away, and a lot can happen in that time.
Your husband could be laid off or fired, or he could quit. Even if he sticks it out, the government could change the way his pension is accrued to make it less generous. (The rising cost of public employee pensions concerns many lawmakers and taxpayers.) Even if he gets what he expects, his pension may not be enough to support the two of you in old age.
So yes, you should be saving for retirement. A cautious person would save as if no pension existed. Someone who’s comfortable with risk might simply aim to fill the gap between the expected pension and future living costs. Others might find a comfortable saving rate between those two points. You can use AARP’s retirement calculator to help you create a plan that allows you to take care of your family today without depriving yourselves in the future.
Dear Liz: Late last year, I applied for a credit card to buy a new computer on the computer maker’s website. I was declined. I was given the chance to talk to the credit card company’s agent and was belittled for having not-so-perfect credit, not enough credit and using too much credit, all in the same phone call. Needless to say, I got the message. I was also reminded that I’d had a charge-off on a competitor’s card in 1992! I always thought bad credit dropped off after seven years, certainly 10. Maybe you can clarify?
Answer: You need to take a look at your credit reports to see what lenders are seeing.
A charge-off from 1992 should have been removed in 1999, said credit expert John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at CreditSesame.com. Charge-offs aren’t public records, so there would be no way for a credit card company to know that a competitor wrote your account off as a loss unless it’s still showing on your credit reports.
“This is why it’s a great idea to pull your credit reports from time to time to make sure ancient debts aren’t still on [them],” Ulzheimer said.
If the charge-off is still showing, you should dispute it with the credit bureaus to have it removed.
What might still be a public record is a judgment, if your old creditor filed a lawsuit against you and then took the trouble to renew the judgment to extend how long it could appear on your credit reports.
“That’s a little trick some lawyers play to keep judgments from expiring,” Ulzheimer said. “They’ll re-file them, sometimes in different jurisdictions, and the byproduct is new credit reporting.”
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, civil judgments have to be dropped after seven years unless your state has a longer statute of limitations. If it does, the judgment can be reported until the statute expires. The statute for judgments ranges from three years to 20 years. California’s statute of limitations for judgments is 10 years. Bills.com has a list of state statutes of limitation athttp://www.bills.com/statute-of-limitations-on-debt/. If you find a judgment on your credit report that should have expired, dispute it with the credit bureaus.
You also should remedy the other problems the representative brought up. You need to pay down the balances on the credit accounts you’re using (preferably paying them off in full). Once you’ve done that, consider adding another credit card to your mix — but use it only if you can commit to paying the balance in full each month. Paying your bills on time and responsibly using credit will help you put your “not-so-perfect credit” behind you.
The New FICO Score: Better for Debtors?
Medical collection debt will no longer count against your score.
3 Tricks Car Salesmen Use that Everyone Should Know How to Handle
Don’t be caught off guard while car shopping.
The Best Credit Cards for Earning Rewards
Getting the most bang for your buck.
10 Tips To Supercharge Your Savings
Giving your savings a much needed boost.
Today’s top story: How to improve your credit score by strategically using your credit cards. Also in the news: Avoiding common debt traps, five store credit cards you should avoid, and what to do when your financial situation leads to depression.
7 Credit Card Strategies to Help Your Credit
How to use your cards to improve your credit score.
Pay, Spend, Pay: How This Debt Mistake Can Set You Back
Avoiding the debt trap.
Don’t get credit cards from these 5 stores
Not unless you’re comfortable with interest rates in the mid-twenties.
7 Steps to Defeat Money Depression
What to do when financial stress gets the best of you.
How To Compare Home Insurance Companies
How to make sure you get the right policy for your home.
Today’s top story: Another day, another massive online security breach. Also in the news: How to decide between brand name and generic, tips for a successful retirement plan, and protecting yourself from bad credit vultures.
7 steps to stronger, more secure passwords
Yet another massive security breach puts millions at risk of identity theft.
Name Brand or Generic? 10 Items Where It Pays to Pick Right
Saving money may not always be worth the cost.
9 Steps to a Successful Retirement Plan
Time tested methods put you on the road to retirement success.
How to protect yourself from credit-card bullies
Don’t become a victim of bad credit predators.
4 Rules to Live By When Making an Offer on a House
How to successfully negotiate your home purchase.