Perhaps you’ve fallen on hard times or made some financial mistakes. If you’re lucky, you’ve learned from those mistakes, and are on better financial footing. Even so, it can take some time for your credit score to reflect that, making it hard to get any kind of loan or mortgage. If you’ve already been turned down by your bank for a mortgage, you may not realize that it’s actually quite easy to get a loan when you have bad credit. The catch is that you’ll pay through the nose for it.
Getting a mortgage when you have bad credit means making some concessions in terms of the price of the home you buy and the interest rate you accept. Plus, if you want to stay on firm financial footing in the future, you’ll also have to make a serious effort to improve your score.
Check out a few options to consider in my new post on Dividend.com.
Using a credit card is easy, but understanding the rules and fine print that come along with it is anything but. That’s no accident. Credit cards are ruled by complicated contracts with all kinds of caveats, and they’re all designed to do one thing: Ensure that the credit card company gets its money. Fortunately, the tides turned a little in consumers’ favor in 2009, when the Credit CARD Act was signed into law. This law laid out federal guidelines to help protect consumers from some of the tricks credit card companies had come up with to boost profits at the expense of consumers.
So what does your credit card company have to do? And what rights do credit card holders have? Understanding the rules and your rights is the first step to ensuring that you don’t get stuck paying more than the law says you have to. Learn about both in my new article on Dividend.com.
There’s a lot of credit card debt in the U.S., about $5,000 per person according to figures released by TransUnion in November 2012. As a result, what we often hear about credit cards is how bad they are for our finances. To be fair, credit cards are designed to entice consumers to spend more – and more than they can afford. If they weren’t, the credit card business just wouldn’t be profitable. That said, a credit card can be a handy financial tool when used mindfully. Get some tips to help you enjoy the convenience of credit – and keep your cash too – in my new post on Dividend.com.
No one likes to think about financial emergencies. The big ones probably entail losing your job, getting really sick or falling prey to some other disaster. In other words, they aren’t just financial disasters, they’re personal ones whose effects extend far beyond the bottom line. Maybe that’s why we’re so reluctant to start an emergency fund. It’s like a bad omen; put that money in the bank and you may just have to use it.
According to a 2011 report, “Financially Fragile Households: Evidence and Implications,” nearly half of Americans wouldn’t be able to come up with even $2,000 within 30 days to deal with a financial emergency. Almost half of all households surveyed in the 2009 Survey of Consumer Finances had less than $3,000 in liquid savings, while 25 percent of Americans have no savings whatsoever, according to the Federal Reserve. In other words, a large percentage of people are living on the edge; one bit of bad luck and they could end up losing everything.
We all hope we’ll never have to face the most serious financial emergencies, but the reality is that without a financial cushion, even common, minor mishaps can throw your finances off the rails. The good news is, even a little savings can go a long way. Find out how to get started in my new post on Dividend.com.
If you keep a significant amount of money in a savings account, chances are that keeping risk to a minimum is important for you. But while savings accounts certainly are safe, they pay just about the lowest returns you can get in the investing world. Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a reasonable alternative; they pay more than a savings account, but provide the same level of certainty that your balance will only increase, rather than suffer a market-based decline. Take a basic look at CDs, how they work and how you can buy them in my new article on Dividend.com: http://www.dividend.com/my-money/an-introduction-to-certificates-of-deposit-cds/
Getting a bank account is often our first introduction to the world of money, and it often happens at such a young age that we take that part of our financial lives for granted. Our paychecks are deposited to our accounts, we withdraw money to pay for the things we need, and we assume that’s all there is to it. The reality is that the options and variety available in the world of checking and savings accounts means that leaving everything up to chance can get very expensive. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much work to implement key money-saving banking moves and keep a little more of your hard-earned money to yourself. Get some tips in my new article on Dividend.com: http://www.dividend.com/my-money/7-sure-fire-money-saving-banking-moves/
The road map for career success used to look like this: Go to school; get a job in your field; work your way to the top for 30 or more years; retire happily ever after (with a full pension!). Not anymore. These days, the average worker stays in a job for an average of 4.4 years. And millennials, those who belong to the generation entering the workforce today, don’t expect to stay in a given job for more than three years, according to a 2012 survey
of 1,189 employees by Future Workforce. That means today’s career path is a lot different – and a lot harder to figure out. Not only do today’s employees have to choose one career; it’s likely they’ll have to choose several. Check out some tips on how to choose or change jobs in my new article on Dividend.com: http://www.dividend.com/career/a-guide-to-landing-your-dream-job/