Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Getting your credit score ready for a mortgage. Also in the news: The effectiveness of spending apps, the pros and cons of companion tickets, and how to protect yourself from tax identity theft.

Is Your Credit Score Ready for Mortgage Shopping?
Prepping your credit score for home shopping.

Can’t control your spending? There’s an app for that. But does it work?
Just how effective are spending apps?

Companion Tickets: The Perk That’s Not Always Rewarding
Smoke and mirrors.

Tax Identity Theft: Why You’re Vulnerable
It’s a busy season for hackers.

Does Paying Off Old Debts Help Your Credit Score?

Dear Liz: How can I get a clear and complete picture of the debts that are hurting my credit score? I have my credit report already. I’m a bit lost and I need to get my credit cleared up to buy a home.

Answer: You actually have three credit reports, one at each of the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Your mortgage lender is likely to request FICO credit scores from each of the three, so you need to check all three reports.

You get your reports for free at one site: http://www.annualcreditreport.com. There are many sites masquerading as this free, federally mandated site, so make sure that you enter the URL correctly. You may be pitched credit scores or other products by the credit bureaus while you’re on this site, but you won’t be required to give a credit card number to get your free reports. (If the site is demanding that you give your credit card number, you’re at the wrong site.)

You should understand that old, unpaid bills may be depressing your scores, but paying them off may not improve those scores. In other words, the damage has been done. You may be able to reduce the impact if you can persuade the collectors to remove the accounts from your reports in exchange for payment, something known in the collections industry as “pay for delete.” But you probably can’t erase the late payments and charge-offs reported by the original creditor before the accounts were turned over to collections, and those earlier marks against you are even more negative than the collection accounts.

That’s not to say you should despair. Over time, your credit scores will improve as you handle credit responsibly. But you shouldn’t expect overnight miracles.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Portrait Of Senior Couple In ParkToday’s top story: Hacks that can give your credit score a boost. Also in the news: Amazon refunds eBook buyers, seniors not taking it easy during retirement, and what you should know about long term care insurance.

4 Credit Score Hacks
How to give your credit score a little boost.

Amazon e-book customers wake up to free cash
If you’ve purchased e-books from Amazon over the past few years, you could have a surprise in your inbox.

Why So Many Seniors Are Launching Businesses
Retirement is no longer just for golfing.

Long-Term Care Insurance: What You Should Know
Don’t be caught off guard by medical expenses during retirement.

Should I Use a Charge Card? Depends on Month
Waiting until April could be a good thing.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How credit cards can hurt your credit without charging a dime. Also in the news: Protecting yourself from tax scammers, top 10 tax tips for individuals, and five things that could trigger a larger tax bill.

Why Applying for Lots of Credit Cards Can Hurt Your Credit
Hard inquiries can lower your score.

E-Filing Your Taxes? Here’s How to Protect Yourself from Scammers
Keeping your information safe.

Top 10 tax tips for individual taxpayers
AICPA’s top 10 tax tips

5 Things That Could Trigger a Bigger Tax Bill
Some of these may surprise you.

How To Manage Your Biggest Investment: Your Kids
You’ll spend at least a quarter of a million dollars on your kid.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Seven things that won’t hurt your credit score. Also in the news: Discovering unclaimed property, seven ways to spring clean your finances, and how to get the best deal on buying a house.

Seven Things That Won’t Hurt Your Credit Score
Some of these may surprise you.

10 States Sitting on Billions of Dollars That Could Be Yours
A simple search can reveal if you have unclaimed property.

7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances
Time to get your financial house in order.

How to get the best deal buying a new house
The sooner you buy, the better.

Your 401(k) Plan: 3 Ways to Tell If It’s Any Good
How to find out if your compmany’s 401(k) is worth joining.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

IRS 1040 Tax Form Being Filled OutToday’s top story: How to choose between increasing your savings or paying down debt. Also in the news: What financial risks Boomers need to consider, how to file your taxes for free, and what recourse you have if a credit report error has hurt your score.

Should You Increase Savings First Or Pay Down Debt?
Making the smart decision.

Financial Risks Boomers Should Consider in Retirement
How to avoid retirement landmines.

Here’s How to File Your Taxes for Free
Save your filing fees.

Can I Sue If a Credit Report Error Hurt My Score?
Examining your options.

Can I Take Advantage of the Student Loan Interest Tax Deduction?
How your loan payments could actually save you money.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

download (1)Today’s top story: Should you splurge or save with your tax refund? Also in the news: Saving for the end of the world, understanding Obamacare tax penalties, and why free checking is becoming a thing of the past.

Tax refunds: Cheap thrills or savvy savings?
Choose wisely.

End-of-world money moves to make
Why should the zombies get your money?

Obamacare Tax Penalties: Will You Have to Pay?
Understanding the new insurance penalties.

Free checking disappearing at the big banks
Free checking is going the way of free toasters.

Will Opening Credit Cards Help My Credit
Possibly. But proceed with caution.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 11 personal finance books you should read before you turn 30. Also in the news: Avoiding Valentine’s Day scams, five ways to boost your credit score, and how to prepare financially for the zombie apocalypse. wall_street_zombie_money

11 Personal Finance Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30
Time to load up the e-reader.

5 Valentine’s Day Scams to Avoid
Don’t let cupid break your heart or your wallet.

5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
Simple guidelines for the path to credit perfection.

Preparing Financially for the Zombie Apocalypse
Keeping an eye out for walkers.

4 Free Tools to Super Charge Your 401k or IRA
Give your retirement savings a boost.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The wrong way to boost your credit score. Also in the news: Target’s data breach spreads to big hotels, how to make a tax lien disappear, and better, more responsible ways to use credit cards. images (1)

The Wrong Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
What not to do in pursuit of a better score.

Latest Known Credit Card Data Breaches Target Big Hotels
If you’ve stated at the Sheraton, Marriott, or Holiday Inn, pay close attention to your bank statement.

How to Make a Tax Lien Disappear
How to handle on of the worst things to appear on your credit report.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Responsible Way to Use Credit Cards
Credit cards are not the enemy.

10 Ways to Boost Your Retirement Savings
It’s time to build a better nest egg.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: A simple way to help your credit. Also in the news: Financial fasting, the best financial resolutions for the New Year, and why you’re not being paid what you’re worth.

What’s the Simplest Thing I Can Do to Help My Credit?
This one thing could make a huge difference.

Should You Go on a Financial Fast?
It’s like a diet for your wallet.

The Most Successful Financial New Year’s Resolutions
Which resolutions work and which ones don’t.

5 Reasons You’re Making Less Money than You Should
Stop undervaluing your worth.

ObamaCare and early retirement
How Obamacare could help you retire early.