With many financial bodies, banks and other lending institutions closing in on rules and regulations and making it even more difficult for people applying for any form of credit it's becoming increasingly important to make sure your finances are in good standing – especially when it comes to your credit score. There are a few simple steps to take to ensure your credit score is kept in the tip-top shape, or if you're concerned that your credit score is perhaps prohibiting you from borrowing this tips will also help.

There are a great deal of factors that contribute to your credit score, as determined by Fair Isaac (the company responsible for determining your final credit score). They are as follows:

  • payment history

  • new credit

  • length of credit history

  • amounts owed

  • types of credit used

The score is marked between 300 and 850, and with payment history contributing about 35% it's paramount that you make sure you pay your bills on time, as the more late payments you make on credit cards, mortgage repayments, utilities etc then the more harmful it is to your FICO score. Many people feel by cutting up credit cards when they get into a tight spot will be doing going a long way to improving their score. However, this is usually not such a good idea as you may removing traces of evidence for all those months of paying credit card bills on time. A better solution would be to keep it but lock it away – out of sight and out of mind (until its needed for reference!)

Avoid maxing out your credit cards, even if you have a sizable limit, don't make large purchases in one hit taking it to the near credit card limit. Stay below 30% of your limit for transactions and you shouldn't be harming your score. Also, avoid consolidating your debt to one large balance as this looks a lot worse than having multiple smaller balances over a few credit cards. This last one is a mistake far too many people make, and although it's tempting to do because it sounds more convenient it's possible the worse thing you can do in many instances. But, perhaps the most important principle to abide by when it comes to improving your credit score is self-discipline and getting into good habits from previous bad habits in the past.

Contributed by : Advice on credit card debt consolidation

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Fixed Annuities Rates Ensure a Steady Source of Income


Annuities refer to contracts that insurance companies sell to people ensuring them a steady stream of income in retirement. Annuities are variable when the investment of annuity purchasers' money is done in the stock market and the amount of return is not certain or guaranteed. Among the available annuities rates, fixed rate is also there. Annuities with a fixed rate are invested to yield return at a fixed rate for a fixed period of time.

If you are approaching the retirement age, to say clearly you are two or three years away from the retirement stage, you should look for the annuities rates which are not only best but also give access to the invested money. You should have a clear understanding of the rates of income from retirement annuities. In the current market, annuity companies are giving 3% rate of interest on annuities for a term of five years. The return is good considering the present economic scenario. You can withdraw the accumulated interest only during the five year period.

If you make an investment of $100,000 and retire in 2 years, you can withdraw only $6000 in the first year and $3000 for next three years. If an annuity guarantees 2.5% and allows you to withdraw up to 10% after a year of retirement, you can take out $10,500 annually in the 1st year of retirement and $9,733 in the 2nd year. The second option gives easier access to the invested money than the first one. While selecting the best annuities rates, take these options into consideration.

Make sure checking the credit rating of insurance companies, before you invest in annuities with fixed rates. Though annuities with fixed rates are going well in the current market, a beforehand homework pays off to drive you down the right path. Fixed annuities rates guarantee return that is sure, though small.
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Lessons from the Credit Crunch



The credit crunch has wreaked havoc in US with people’s finances. It has successfully battered their businesses, cost them their favorite jobs and smashed the loan prospects of consumers and crushed their hopes of a quick deliverance from their debt issues even with programs like credit settlement. Overall it has driven the consumers crazy with depleting funds and increasing debts. While none of us have liked to be in such a deplorable situation, but you can always learn from your mistakes and arm yourself with better preparations to battle your financial hardships. Let us make ourselves more compliant with the lessons that we can probably learn from a credit crunch:

* Have an alternative to fall back upon, no matter in whichever profession you may be or whatever business you are in and this is probably the most significant lesson that one may learn from the whole credit debacle. Bernard Shaw has rightly quoted “Expect the worst and get the best”. It is absolutely necessary to have a second option of livelihood whenever your credit score is reduced drastically and have it before it is actually too late.
* By now we have realized and for better that so many of these businesses could have been saved from failures only if there were sufficient business plans which could have conveniently prevented the dramatic loss of businesses and severe fall of credit. Moreover, proper business plans can save money, jobs and business during an economic crisis.
* Another important lesson to be learnt from the credit crunch is to make more liquid cash available; this not only applies to big business organizations but to average investors and business owners. Having more liquid assets helps to pay down debts and prevents forcible closure of business organizations.
* Save by the way of investments or otherwise which can be a life saving option when there is a severe credit crunch.
* Knowing about ways to use your credit card wisely is a big savior.
* Whether it is a mortgage or any other forms of credit, it pays to know them well and make sure you have read the documents before signing on the dotted line.
* One of the most well known businesses have been smashed during the credit crunch which is an obvious proof of the fact that name does not make a business; just because it’s a recognized brand does not mean that it is associated with success.
* Do not be too optimistic about your investments presuming that there may not be any economic crisis; bubbles do burst and businesses fall as well, so do not lose sight of the risks during good times rather be well prepared.

Thus there are better ways to beat the credit crunch, but better still are the ways to overcome these tough times by learning the tricks of wealth management and avoid repetition of mistakes as far as managing your credit is concerned.
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Credit cards: Facts you should keep in mind when using them



A credit card is a small plastic card issued to you for making non-cash payments for goods and services. Companies that issue a credit card to you offer you a credit limit on one when you make purchases. Your monthly payments range from a minimum amount to your total outstanding balance. Your credit card is issued by banks, trust companies, credit unions, financial institutions, finance companies and department stores.


7 Facts you should remember while using a credit card

You can use your credit card well if you understand key features that can help you maximize your credit benefits. Some of these features are as follows:


  1. The APR: Know your credit card’s annual percentage rates (APRs) and whether these rates are fixed or variable. These APRs are annual charges that you pay as interest fees for an entire year.

  2. Balance transfer fees: You pay off credit card debt through balance transfer by lowering your payment rates on your credit balance by shifting debt from cards with a higher interest to cards with a lower interest. But credit cards always have a promotional period when you get 0% or very low rates for the first few months. Once these months are over, your rates are adjusted to higher figures and you pay a certain fee for owning a balance transfer card. This is undesirable, expensive and problematic.

  3. Know your credit limit: Find out what is the total credit limit on your credit card. It helps you understand the maximum you can pay with your credit card.

  4. Minimum payment options: Know your minimum payment options for your credit card. Minimum payments are the minimum monthly payments you pay on your outstanding balance every month and they decrease as your balance is paid off.

  5. Late fees: When you miss a credit card payment for a month, you always pay a late fee or an over-limit fee. Remember to know the specific of such payment before you choose a credit card.

  6. Rewards on your cards: Most credit cards give you certain perks like frequent flier miles that you accumulate with every purchase. Know the details of such benefits before you choose a credit card.

  7. Grace periods for late payments: Always remember to check the period of time your credit card company gives you before you start accruing interest on delayed payments every month.


5 Solutions to your credit card problems


5 solutions to your credit card problems are listed below:


  1. Be alert: In case your credit card is stolen you are held liable for unauthorized purchases if you forget to report the loss to your creditor. All card issuers offer you personalized and free alerts on your phone and your email. Make sure you subscribe to these alerts to keep track of your credit balances, payment dates, payment history and purchase activities.

  2. Claim your rights: Sometimes unauthorized charges and billing errors cause a headache at the end of every month. You have the right to dispute purchases which you have not paid for but are accounted in your monthly credit card statement. The zero liability clauses offers you the benefit of reporting fraudulent purchases which you have not paid for.

  3. Be careful with personal information: There is a high chance of fraud or loss of sensitive personal information when you use your credit cards too much. Be careful when sharing personal details card companies. You might unwittingly leak personal information to thieves and swindlers if you lose credit cards. Notify your card issuer as soon as possible and cancel your card even if you retrieve it.

  4. Write out your debts: Sometimes your monthly interests on your purchases increase on credit card debt. Write out a list of everything you owe. Many of us don’t even know how much we have taken as loans. It’s always a good option to write down the lender’s name on a loan, the amount you owe, the terms of the loan and the interest rate and fees.

  5. Cut on spending: When you have many credit cards, each having a different credit limit, you add up all the credit limits that run into thousands of dollars. Your income may not be enough for you to sustain many balances. Do not use too many credit cards at one time and cut spending if you want to get into the fast track of cutting out debts.


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Tax Attorneys Resolve IRS Tax Problems


IRS tax lawyers are definitely experts capable of resolving the majority of IRS tax problems. These attorneys adopt several strategies in order to deal with even the most difficult IRS tax problems. Thus they fetch you efficient tax relief and also protect your most important assets. By the moment maximum of the tax payers consider hiring a tax lawyer, the tax problems have worsened so much that the individuals start believing that they are struggling with such a campaign which they will certainly lose. Every individual understands the importance of repaying income taxes. But this does not prevent unexpected financial crisis from interfering with the chance to pay for. Moreover it is not always the tax payers fault behind so much suffering. Several times it is evident that individuals suddenly may get to know about the taxes they did not have any idea about. Individuals cannot even ask the IRS about these taxes as well.

The IRS tax lawyer is certainly an authority who is capable to deal with these type of difficulties. They can help individuals in obtaining the cheapest settlement deal attainable or to get the incorrect tax amount recalculated appropriately. The tax lawyers are consultants who are capable to guide individuals with any kind of IRS tax problems such as back taxes, bank levy, wage garnishment, excessive penalties, liens and IRS blunders. In many instances, the solution could be set up swiftly for the reason that IRS has an incredible number of this kind of situations to cope with yearly. In cases while the IRS officials need to deal with a well informed tax lawyer in the procedure, it becomes difficult for them to play games. The tax attorneys are well informed about the principles of the procedure as a result they can deal the IRS officials well.
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How Major Life Events Impact Your Credit - Credit Report ...


Don’t Do 1. Forget to get your credit report.

Make it a point to get your credit report each year from the primary credit bureaus. This helps to keep you updated with your credit status and gives you ample opportunity to check if your transactional details are accurate and up-to-date. Remember that credit reports are used not only for financial reasons but also your employers often keep a track of the same.

Don’t Do 2. Cosign with someone with a credit risk.

If you cosign with someone who is a bad credit risk , for eg. your spouse, you must be aware that you are responsible for the account if the other person involved fails to repay a loan.

Don’t Do 3. Deny to give same individual information for identification purpose for every loan application.

It is a good practice to give same identification info for eg name, telephone number, social security number each time that you apply for a credit. Tips: If you use a middle name, either use it al all times or don’t use it ever. In this way you can ensure that you don’t land up getting duplicate files.


Don’t Do 4. Neglect to form your own credit information

Sometimes it may happen that you don’t have a credit report on your name. After marriage you get to use your spouse’s account as an authorized user. In this scenario if you ever plan to file a divorce, then you might lose all the benefits. So, it is very essential to get credit on your own name right from the beginning.

Don’t Do 5. Load your bag with too many credit cards

Often credit card gives you a false sense of achievement, but in reality you achieve nothing but debt. Credit card is meant for emergency use only and hence the term “plastic money”. Use of cash serves best in order to lead a healthy debt-free life. Have as few cards as possible so that you can keep a track your expenditures and can avoid running into a bad debt.

Don’t Do 6. Repay minimal amounts

Are you happy to repay the smallest amount possible each month against your loan? The only person who is benefiting form this is your creditor. The lesser you pay, the longer you take, thus incurring high interest amount on your actual loan money. Ultimately you land up paying a lot more,

Don’t Do 7. You think its not so important to fix errors on your credit report.

However slight the error may look, it is important to fix it up. This will avoid duplicate files of your account. Check all incorrect balances and closed account printed as open or vice-versa. This might lead to a lot of discrepancies in the long run. Keep your credit report error-free to live a trouble-free life.

Don’t Do 8. Names are matched in your family

If your family has members with same names with different titles like, Jr, Sr or post-fixes like I, II and III, then make sure that your credit information are not intermingled. If there is any discrepancy, report it to the concerned department immediately. Beware of anyone trying to misuse your credit.

Don’t Do 9. You think that late payments don’t reflect on your credit report.

Are you aware that if you are 30 days late in paying , your creditor is free to report the delinquency to a credit bureau. This is turn affects you in long run to get a good interest rate or future credit. So, keep a track of payment due dates and follow a ‘spend-less pay-early’ method.

Don’t Do 10. Last but not the least, Failing to pay at all

However small the balance is , not paying it affects your credit report throughout your life. So don’t keep aside a card just because you don’t use it anymore. Pay the dues to every penny.

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