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How to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score: most days you probably don’t think about it at all. But at pivotal milestones throughout your life, a good credit score suddenly becomes crucial. Your credit score affects your ability to buy a new car, qualify for student loans, get approved for an apartment or even land a job. With a good credit score, you’ll be able to finance a vehicle, get approved for an apartment with a safety deposit, and pass an employment background check. And with an excellent credit score, you’ll find yourself eligible for the lowest interest rates, with better chance of approval for loans and rentals, access to the best credit cards, higher credit limits, easier mortgage approval and so much more. No matter where you are in life, it’s worthwhile to put in the effort to move your credit score from bad to good, or from good to excellent. So where do you…

7 Common Questions About Credit Reports

The whole credit reporting system can seem a bit mysterious. In fact, when you first realize you have credit reports and a credit score, it may feel a bit like being graded for a class you didn’t even know you were enrolled in! To help demystify this important aspect of your financial life, here are answers to seven common questions about credit reports. What Information Does My Credit Report Include? Today’s credit reporting system is designed to provide a “just the facts” summary of your financial track record. Your credit reports provide a summary of your credit history. They include information provided directly by lenders and gleaned from public records. Credit reports do not include gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, political affiliation, medical history, motor vehicle records or criminal records. And even though credit reports are focused on your financial history, they also don’t include information about your bank accounts. This…

Keep Your Finances in Balance With an Excellent Credit Score

Your credit score is much like an adult version of your GPA. It’s a grade that measures your level of financial responsibility in relation to others. Banks and lending institutions use your credit score when you apply for a mortgage, an auto loan or a loan for home improvements or a business. Credit card companies use scores to determine who qualifies for a card and at what interest rate. Increasingly, however, insurance companies, landlords and sometimes employers, study credit scores as a way to determine how responsible you are. Here are basics about where your credit score comes from and how to raise your score if it’s lagging behind the competition. Credit Reporting 101 The most widely used credit scores are FICO® scores, created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Top lenders use FICO scores to help them make credit-related decisions every year. FICO calculates scores based on information in consumer…

5 Reasons Why 2016 Looks Good for the US Economy

2015 was a good year for the US economy, and it looks like this upward trend is likely to continue throughout 2016. The International Monetary Fund has reported a projected gross domestic product growth of 2.8 percent (up from 2.6 percent in 2015), leading statisticians to predict that America will continue to outperform other leading First World nations in the fiscal year to come. Here are five indicators that 2016 will be at least as good as 2015 from a financial perspective – and maybe even better. Interest Rates Are Up On December 16, 2015, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. While the rate hike was relatively minor (from a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent), it was a sign of how much the economy has recovered from the Great…