Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to foil 5 common bank fees from draining your funds. Also in the news: How to talk – not fight – about money with your spouse, the real cost of owning a pet, and how Equifax ignored warning about security vulnerabilities.

How to Foil 5 Common Bank Fees From Draining Your Funds
Don’t let them take your money.

How to Talk — Not Fight — About Money With Your Spouse
Peaceful talks over a tough subject.

How Much Does Owning a Pet Really Cost?
Affording Fido.

Equifax Was Warned About Vulnerability But Failed To Patch It
A nightmare that could have been prevented.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

dog holding a purse with money in its mouth. isolated on white bToday’s top story: How to save without using your savings account. Also in the news: Why you should have a separate bank account for your side jobs, the bad side to inactive credit, and how much it really costs to own a dog.

4 Ways to Save Without Your Savings Account
Under the mattress doesn’t count.

Why You Need a Separate Bank Account for Your Side Job
Keeping your money straight.

Inactive Credit: How Long It Takes, and How to Use a Credit Card to Prevent It
Not using credit can actually hurt your score.

This is how much it really costs to own a dog per year
Man’s best friend can get pretty pricey.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to save money while repaying Parent PLUS loans. Also in the news: Why your dog needs liability insurance, where you’re paying more in fees than you should be, and how to itemize common tax deductions.

Got Parent PLUS Loans? Save Money With These Alternative Payment Plans
Repayment plans that could save you money.

Why Your Dog Needs Liability Insurance
Fido’s bite could cost you big bucks.

6 Places You’re Paying More In Fees Than You Have To
Fighting back against the nickel-and-diming.

The Right Way to Itemize These Common Tax Deductions
Don’t pay more than necessary.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

HealthCare-Medical-Identity-TheftToday’s top story: What to do if you’re an Anthem insurance customer. Also in the news: TurboTax stops state filings, how your own personal lottery can add up to big savings, and how your pet can fetch a tax deduction.

Millions of Anthem Customers Exposed: What It Means for You
Find out what you should do if you’re an Anthem customer.

TurboTax halts state filings amid fraud outbreak
What this means for TurboTax customers.

Pay Your Own Personal “Lottery” to Save Money Regularly
Then ten dollar a day habit that could add up to big bucks.

How Your Pet Can Dig Up a Tax Deduction
A deduction, not a dependent.

4 frequent flier mile pro tips that anyone can use
Getting the most from your miles.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailSaving money after Fido eats another sock, is good credit required for student loans, and what car shopping and college shopping have in common.

Saving Money When Caring for Sick Pets
How to save money when man’s best friend gets sick.

Poll: Half of Older Workers Delay Retirement Plans
Uncertainty over the financial markets have older workers considering working well past retirement age.

Do I Need a Good Credit Score to Get Student Loans?
Depending on what kind of loan you’re applying for, the answer could be no.

What you don’t know about Social Security can hurt you
The importance of understanding Social Security’s complexities.

Why Choosing a College Should Be Like Buying a Car
The difference in quality between a luxury university and a four-door state school could be less than you think.

How credit scores are like cats

Cute cat enjoying himself outdoorsWhen people complain that credit scoring formulas aren’t fair or consumer friendly, I think of my Great Auntie M.

Great Auntie M. was a lovely older woman, and she was besotted with her cat. Great Auntie M. once told me that if she died first, she wanted the cat euthanized since he “couldn’t possibly live” without her.

Just as Great Auntie M. misunderstood the fundamental nature of cats, so many people misunderstand the fundamental nature of credit scores. There are more than a few parallels between the two, so let me explain:

They’re finicky. Your cat may turn up its nose as its food bowl, or kick litter out of a box that’s not perfectly clean. Credit scores are similarly fussy about certain things: paying bills on time, not using too much of your available credit limits, not applying for new credit too often.

They hold grudges. When my husband moved in with his sister years ago, her cat was not amused by the presence of a new person. The cat expressed himself by depositing a single turd in the exact middle of hubby’s bed. One of our own cats once stalked up behind her brother, lifted up her paw like a prizefighter and smashed his head with it. There was no immediate provocation to this act of vengeance, so we can only speculate what he did earlier to tick her off. Credit scores don’t quickly forgive infractions, either, especially big ones. A single skipped payment can affect your scores for up to three years, a foreclosure for up to seven years, a bankruptcy for up to 10 years. (The impact decreases over time if you use credit responsibly, but it can still persist.)

They have their own agenda. Cats can be cuddly, playful, affectionate. (I have one sitting on my lap right now, monitoring my typing.) But cats typically are independent. They can withdraw affection in an instant, stalk away and regard you with indifference. Cats feel no obligation to oblige, conform or bend to the will of another. They are, in other words, the polar opposite of the dog now sleeping at my feet, a desperate-to-please golden retriever whose primary need is reassurance that yes, he is still part of the pack.

Like cats, credit scoring formulas don’t particularly care what you think. Credit scores were constructed for lenders, not consumers. In fact, originally you were never supposed to know that credit scores even existed, let alone what yours were. Credit scores have their own, internal logic that they follow, regardless of its impact on you.

Here’s another similarity: credit scores, like cats, can reward you if you figure out what they like and don’t like. With both, the effort is worthwhile.