Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways to build your credit in less than an hour. Also in the news: Investing in international stocks, why you should invest in the stock market even if it scares you, and where to find the best Memorial Day sales.

6 Ways to Build Your Credit in Less Than an Hour
60 minutes to better credit.

Investing in International Stocks: A Road Map
Diving into the international market.

Invest in the Stock Market, Even if It Scares You
Take a deep breath.

Where to Find the Best Memorial Day Sales
Find the best savings.

Q&A: Building an emergency fund beats out building credit

Dear Liz: I am trying to raise my credit scores, which are very low. I have one negative mark on my account from a paid collection and I just got my first secured credit card. I have a bit of extra money right now and I’m wondering what’s the best way to use it to raise my scores. Should I get another secured credit card from a different issuer, get a secured 12-month loan through my financial institution or something else?

Answer: People rebuilding their credit often overlook the importance of an emergency fund. Having even a small amount of savings can keep a financial setback, such as a decrease in income or an unexpected expense, from causing you to miss a payment and undoing all your efforts to boost your scores. You can start with just a few hundred dollars and slowly build the fund over time.

Adding an installment loan can assist with building credit as well, but a secured loan may not be the best option if money is tight. The cash you deposit with the lender as collateral for the loan won’t be available again until you pay off the loan. Consider instead a credit-builder loan, in which the money you borrow is placed in a savings account or certificate of deposit to be claimed when you’ve finished making the monthly payments, typically after one year. That means you can keep the cash you already have for emergencies. Credit-builder loans are available from some credit unions and Self Lender, an online company.

You’ll want to make sure both the credit card issuer and the installment loan lender are reporting your payments to the three credit bureaus. If your accounts don’t show up on your credit reports, they’re not helping to build your scores.

In addition to making payments on time, you’ll want to avoid using too much of the available credit on the card. There’s no bright line for how much to charge, but typically 30% or less is good, 20% or less is better and 10% or less is best. Use the card lightly but regularly and pay it off in full every month because there’s no advantage to carrying a balance.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 back-to-college lessons on building credit. Also in the news: Focus on just one thing in order to retire early, 4 salary negotiation tactics that actually work, and what you need to know before switching to a cheaper phone plan.

5 Back-to-College Lessons on Building Credit
Preparing for a solid future.

To Retire Early, Focus on Just One Thing
Save like mad.

4 Salary Negotiation Tactics That Really Worked
How to get what you’re worth.

What You Need to Know Before Switching to a Cheaper Phone Plan
There will be changes.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Credit report with score on a desk

Today’s top story: How your selfie could affect your life insurance. Also in the news: How to build credit in exactly 250 words, why you need to get to work on building your unemployment fund, and why the credit scoring system is about to get less awful.

How Your Selfie Could Affect Your Life Insurance
That brunch selfie could raise your life insurance rates.

How to Build Credit in (Exactly) 250 Words
Short, sweet, and effective.

Get to Work on Building Your Unemployment Fund
Don’t waste anymore time.

The Credit Scoring System Is About to Get Less Awful
Big changes are coming this fall.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

babytrollToday’s top story: Why your newborn doesn’t need to be on your credit card account. Also in the news: Why paying more tax today could be your best AMT strategy, common retirement mistakes seen by financial planners, and how credit card minimum payments are meant to keep you in debt forever.

No, Your Newborn Doesn’t Need to Be on Your Credit Card Account
No need to build credit that early.

Paying More Tax Today May Be Your Best AMT Strategy
Understanding how AMT works.

Seven Common Retirement Mistakes Seen by Financial Planners
And how to avoid them.

Credit card minimums: Perfectly calibrated to keep you in debt
A cycle of perpetual debt.

The best ways to build credit now

Once, building credit meant taking on debt — sometimes expensive debt like a car loan or a credit card with a high rate.

Today, it’s possible to build a good credit score in a year without a big chunk of cash upfront or a large debt at the end. You can make yourself look better to lenders while keeping more money in your pocket. In my latest for the Associated Press, how to build credit the right way.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Image9Today’s top story: The best way to invest $5,000. Also in the news: How a credit card helps with building credit, the life-and-death financial decision you don’t want to think about, and apps to help lazy people save money.

The Best Ways to Invest $5,000
Putting your money to work.

Building Credit? How a Credit Card ‘Gets You There Faster’
One way to build credit.

The Life-and-Death Financial Decision You Don’t Want to Think About
Life insurance is essential.

These Apps Are the Perfect Money Saving Tool For Lazy People
No more excuses.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

building-good-creditToday’s top story: How to build credit without a credit card. Also in the news: Financial steps to take if you’re getting divorced, apps to help with moving, and how your financial behavior is manipulated.

7 Ways to Build Credit Without a Credit Card
Non-credit card options for building credit.

7 Financial Steps to Take When Getting a Divorce
Protecting yourself during a difficult time.

These Apps Will Make Your Next Move a Breeze
Taking some of the stress away from moving.

The Six Ways Your Financial Behavior Is Manipulated
Who’s pulling the strings?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The benefits to joining a credit union. Also in the news:Image9 When to sign up for a financial advisor, apps that will make next year’s taxes easier, and how to build your credit from the ground up.

6 Perks You Can Get at a Credit Union
Free checking!

When To Sign Up A Financial Advisor
Knowing when it’s time.

10 Apps to Use Now to Make Taxes Easier Next Year
Help is just an app away.

6 Ways to Build Your Credit From the Ground Up
Needing credit to get credit.

6 Ways You’re Cheating on Your Budget
Removing your hand from the cookie jar.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Household-Budget1Today’s top story: How a good budget can help you build credit. Also in the news: Avoiding financial scams, tips on managing your elderly parent’s money, and five money rules for a successful retirement.

How Your Budget Can Help You Build Credit
A good budget can help you build a great credit score.

10 Tips To Avoid Common Financial Scams
Don’t be taken advantage of.

Managing Your Mom or Dad’s Money
Taking over a difficult task.

5 Money Rules For A Successful Retirement
How to make your money last longer.