More Than Finances

Get your finances in order!

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Professor Pollack’s 3×5 Card of Financial Advice

According to the Forbes article ” Should Financial Advice Cost 1%?” Americans are spending  $233 billion a year to have $15 trillion of investment money professionally managed. What if you could avoid these fees with some simple financial advice?

Well, you can.  In fact, back in 2014 University of Chicago Professor Harold Pollack wrote down the basics on a 3 by 5 card.  Here they are:

3x5 card of financial advice Read More

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Have You Checked Your Credit Report Lately? Here’s Why You Should

Check Your Credit Report

Ah, the credit report. The proverbial backbone of your financial history.

Lenders, insurers, and a range of other companies rely on your credit report details to set your rates, determine your eligibility for products, and even decide whether they should hire you. Ultimately, your credit report is a powerful document which has the potential to significantly alter the course of your life. Read More

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What to Look For When Buying a Car

Buying a new car can be a fun experience, especially when it comes to test driving it and having that new car smell.  However, it can also be a hassle to negotiate with a salesperson and to know whether you are getting the best price or not.  That is why it is so important to do your homework and know all your options when it comes to buying a car,

Your Needs

The first thing to look at is your needs.  What exactly are you buying a new car for?  (When I say new, I don’t mean the newest model year either.  I just mean it is new for you).  Do you need it to replace an existing vehicle?  Is your family growing and you need something larger?

All of these questions will play into what type of car you should buy.  Once you’ve figured out your needs, you should do your homework online and see what types of vehicles match those needs.  There are a lot of good resources, like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds that offer vehicle reviews and give estimated prices for different car types with different mileages.

When you finally go to the dealer, you will be armed with all the information you need.

Your Costs

The next part is the tougher one – dealing with the costs.  Are you planning on paying cash or financing the car?  If you’re financing, do you already have a car loan lined up, or are you planning to get one from the dealer.

If you’re getting a car loan, it is a good idea to shop around at a site like Creditplus, where you can compare the rates of up to 50 companies to find the one that best suits your needs.  Make sure that you look at the requirements for the loan, such as having enough to put down, and what your monthly payments will be.

Beyond the monthly loan payments (if applicable), you will also need to look at insurance costs (they could be higher), and fuel/maintenance costs (which could also be higher if you get a bigger car).  Make sure you know all your money facts before going in.

If your credit score is preventing you from getting a loan, and buying a car, contact a credit repair service and get your credit back in line.

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5 Reasons a Lender may Decline a Home Loan

Filling out and filing the necessary paperwork needed to get a mortgage for a new home is a daunting experience. More difficult still is getting a call from the bank or financial institution stating they have denied your request. Getting the news may be difficult, and the reason for their denying you may be unclear. Given the current economic climate, financial institutions have become stricter concerning who they allow to borrow their money. People expecting to take out a mortgage should go into the process knowledgeable of what banks and creditors look for in applicants, and how the lending process happens. Using these five tips, you can better prepare yourself to be in good standing when it comes time to get a mortgage.

 1. Outstanding Credit Debt

A consumer’s existing debt is a major factor in how a financial institution views their mortgage application. A guideline they look for immediately is what percent of a person’s gross income constitutes their housing costs. Anything over 33% is a red flag, and anything over 5% of additional consumer debt is frowned upon. The financial institution views this as intruding on the 33% figure since it is debt that needs to be repaid. Any imbalance needs to be righted on the other side so as not to exceed a total of 38% combined debt. For instance, if the bank saw that a mortgage applicant had 9% consumer debt, they may only approve a mortgage up to 29% of the individual’s gross income. You can prevent these numbers from going too high by being careful with credit cards and keeping the consumer debt figure low. If you have additional mortgages it could be the case that you will need to sell a property. Or, if your existing mortgages are with same lender you may need to approach a different lender as you could be exceeding the maximum exposure that the lender is willing to offer.

 2. Job Consistency

Moving locations or changing your place of employment could negatively impact your chances of being approved for a mortgage. Financial institutions are looking for job security and consistent income figures for at least two years. Receiving a higher income promotion within the same company or field of work is the exception to this rule. Freelance workers or those in sales who rely heavily on commission and performance have more difficulty acquiring mortgage approval. This is because the bank sees salaried workers like teachers, who have the promise of income and tenure for job security, as having a higher likelihood of being able to pay off a loan.

3. Unsteady Credit

Given that the length of time between submitting a credit application and acquiring a loan is typically on the order of several months, financial institutions usually perform multiple credit checks over this period to make sure your credit is stable. Take extra care in paying credit balances on time and try not to open any new credit lines. Before applying for a mortgage, it is also a good idea to get your credit report from reputable sources and check it for inconsistencies.

 4. Be Responsible with Payments

Somewhat related to the last bit, it is important that no major payments, such as for the car or house, are late or missed during these months. If a financial institution sees missed or late payments, they may decide allowing you a mortgage is too risky for them. If you have a mortgage now, it is vital that you pay it on time. If there are issues with paying the current mortgage, talking to the holder and fixing the problem are important for being approved for the new mortgage.

 5. Follow Application Protocol

Filling out all the different forms may seem self-explanatory, but making sure every paper is filled out as accurately as possible and don’t skip any steps. Review your work as many times as it takes to make sure everything is filled out properly. These papers are all the mortgage holder has to decide whether or not to approve you, so make sure they are entirely filled out and contain detailed, accurate information.

 Bio

Andrew Potter from My Online Estate Agent wrote this guest article. My Online Estate Agent is one of the UK’s best online estate agents and provides all the tools and advice you need to sell or let your property.

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Got bad credit? Here are your options for improving it!

The use of credit has become a part of everyday life and almost without exception, everyone needs to use it. Unfortunately for some, the use of credit can get out of control, leaving a bad credit record. There are providers out there who specialize in offering credit cards for bad credit that may offer a solution.

It is worth remembering that a bad credit rating is not the same thing as being a bad payer. A whole host of factors can affect credit rating, including not being a home owner or being self employed.

These providers are more likely to accept a new customer whose credit history has been damaged in some way. Provided they are used responsibly, having one of these cards can assist in repairing a bad credit record.

As with other cards, those specializing in credit cards for bad credit will expect the borrower to keep up with their repayments. Provided this happens, this will actively show potential lenders that the user is a better risk.

Although these cards are easier to obtain, it should be remembered that a card specializing in bad credit will often have a low credit limit. This might mean a borrower cannot transfer their whole balance onto one card.

Having many applications on file for credit will not improve a credit rating and might actually harm it. Borrowers should be wary and make absolutely sure that applying for another credit card is really their best option.

Providers often offer generous terms to new customers in terms of interest free periods on balance transfers. This can mean that a debt is significantly reduced during this period provided repayments are kept up.

Borrowers should bear in mind that with most cards, a fee will be charged on any balance transfer. However, this fee is a one off charge and the advantages of any introductory interest free offers should outweigh this.

Where a borrower is only going to be able to afford to make the minimum possible repayment, it is very important that they check what any card’s standard interest rate is. Some so called bad credit credit cards can have significantly higher rates.

If a card has a higher interest rate, then the payback period for the borrower can be significantly increased. This can end up costing the borrower a great deal more money in interest.

Most borrowers will want to start shopping around for a new credit card deal when their provider’s introductory offers expire. While this might save money, spending longer with a current provider can improve credit rating.

For those wanting to make purchases but unable to obtain a card, prepaid cards are an excellent way forward. As you preload the card with your own finance, you application is more likely to be accepted and you have the same consumer protection as a normal card on your purchases.

Borrowers should bear in mind that although prepaid cards offer convenience, they will not actually do anything to repair your credit rating.

A good exercise when considering different card providers is to carefully compare the terms and conditions to see whether there are any hidden surprises. This can be particularly true with cards offering a deal for those with poor credit ratings.

The main considerations when taking out a new credit card are how much you can safely afford to borrow on it and whether or not you can keep up with the repayments required. Unless a borrower stays within these limits, they will find themselves in hot water.

Poor credit history in the past does not need to dictate the future. There are providers willing to help and this can change your future ratings.