7 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score

Credit report with score
Folks with the best credit get the best terms when it comes to mortgages, car loans and credit cards. They get the lowest interest rates and the lowest fees. They get the biggest sign-up bonuses. They’re more likely to get the benefit of the doubt when asking to get a fee waived or a credit line increased. Add it all up and you get an awful lot of reasons to make 2016 the year you get your credit in shape.

How exactly do you that, though? Well, it won’t always be easy and it won’t always be quick, but the good news is that it can be done. The truth is that you have more control over your credit than you think. You just have to put in the work.
Here are some ways that you can boost your credit score in 2016.

1. Get your credit report, and report any errors you find.

Any move to boost your credit score must begin with checking your credit report. Get a free copy of your report from all three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax

10 Things Millennials Should Do to Reach the Next Financial Level

Young female in fashionable clothes looking into a wallet
Millennials have had a rough road when it comes to money. Not only did they come of age during the Great Recession, which made jobs scarce and benefits even scarcer, but many saw their parents lose big time in the stock or real estate markets, which scared them off of making their own investments. Still, there’s no more time for excuses, because millennials are all grown up and taking on increasing amounts of responsibility. From mortgages and parenthood to caring for aging parents, millennials are facing big financial milestones, whether they’re ready or not.

According to Bank of America’s Year-End Millennial Snapshot, which analyzed 2015 data from over 3,500 millennials, this young cohort of 20- and early 30-somethings continues to struggle financially: a tough job market, hesitancy to invest and student loans are just a few of the challenges in their way to prosperity. Still, the data suggest they are firmly committed to achieving financial independence one day. About half

How to Put Yourself on a Money Diet

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Woman measuring piggy bank

For the past six years, Eliza Cross, a professional blogger and freelance writer in Denver, has put herself on what she calls a “money diet.”

Not that she coined the phrase. “Money diet” is a term that’s been around since at least the 1980s. For a stretch of time, maybe a week and often a month, you spend no money, except on essentials like groceries, gas and medicine. Unlike a food diet, where you want to lose pounds, the goal is to gain money. And if you do it right, Cross says, you should have more money than usual at the end of the month, and you may gain better financial habits as well.

Cross has been putting herself on a money diet every January, for all 31 days. She writes about it and commiserates with her readers on her blog, HappySimpleLiving.com.

And while Cross does it every January – “it’s a good time of year when we’re motivated to make changes in our lives, and a lot of us have been spending a lot

Identify potential trend: Oscillators

In modern conditions the trade potential of the Forex trend you want to determine fairly quickly, so use special electronic helpers – oscillators, which produce the necessary mathematical calculations for the trader. They are considered to be quite an effective way of technical analiza.V modern trading environment of Forex trend potential is required to determine fairly quickly, so use special electronic helpers – oscillators, which produce the necessary mathematical calculations for the trader. They are considered to be quite an effective way of technical analysis.

What indicators are oscillators function

– Perfect trend line Relative Strength Index (RSI);

– Movement of the market, built on the theory of probability, the MACD;

– adx technical indicator https://freshforex.com/analitics/fresh-forecast/potencial/ uses AI techniques;

– “Bent” to determine exceedances of purchases and sales;

– Stochastic (a measure of the relative strength).

At the last stop in more detail, since the last time it is gaining popularity.

Stochastic oscillator

Stochastic evaluates the sensitivity of the market and shows the price position relative to the previous price highs and lows during a particular trading period. It displays the result as a percentage. The obvious advantage is that the light should not be at the cost of most, but for her pulse, which takes place before

The 10 Best Banks

National banks are still struggling to shed their collective image as fee-heavy, profit-hungry machines. Despite this reputation, however, national brick-and-mortar banks offer numerous products and services that consumers are still happy to use.

Ubiquitous branches and ATMs, interest-bearing accounts and
state-of-the-art technology make the larger, commercial bank the right fit for consumers who need their bank to be everywhere – and who need digital banking services or a wide range of insurance and loan options that many smaller, community financial institutions don’t offer.

With so many product and service factors to consider, choosing the right bank with the right blend of amenities to fulfill your needs can be a challenge. Moreover, you want to make sure you’re choosing a bank that offers competitive interest rates.

Personal finance website GOBankingRates.com conducted its annual Best Banks study to help you narrow your search. The study assessed the top 90 financial institutions based on asset size according to the FDIC. Check out the top 10 banks to see what they have to offer.

Best Bank: Wells Fargo

Although it doesn’t have the highest number of ATMs, Wells Fargo does have the most U.S. branches of any national brick-and-mortar bank on this list – 6,200. It also has other

3 Risks of Investing in Annuities

Investing can be scary, especially in the short term. When you retire, it’s hard to watch the value of your lifetime of savings fluctuate as financial markets bounce up and down. Fear is a powerful sales tool.

Immediate annuities are an insurance product that prevents you from losing money and offers the benefit of guaranteed payments. However, there is a catch with those guarantees. Many annuities aren’t guaranteed to keep up with inflation, so the purchasing power of those guaranteed payments could decline over time. Tying up a significant portion of your money in an annuity also takes away some of your financial options and flexibility, because you can’t always get the money back out easily. And some annuities are outright expensive.

Here are some of the issues you could face if you invest your retirement savings in an immediate annuity.

Inflation risk. Inflation has been artificially low for years due to manipulation by central banks and the slow growth patterns of the economy. As a result, many people have forgotten how inflation can reduce the buying power of fixed income payments and guaranteed rates of return.

Inflation is a normal occurrence as the cost of goods and services increase over time. Back in

4 Golden Rules of Investing

Whether you’re new to investing or a market veteran, these time-tested tips can help you build your fortune.

Rule Number 1: Diversify. Since some investments zig when others zag, divvy your money across several investment categories, from stocks to bonds to real estate. Also diversify within categories. Diversification spreads risk and guards against a catastrophic decline in any one investment.

Rule Number 2: Rebalance. Review your portfolio yearly to make sure your mix of investments hasn’t strayed from your original goals. If it has, sell investments that have performed well and use the proceeds to invest in underperformers to regain balance.

Rule Number 3: Dollar-cost average. Fear can cause investors to miss buying opportunities when prices are low. Euphoria can cause them to buy high. By investing the same amount in the same investments on a regular basis, dollar-cost averaging takes emotion out of the equation.

Rule Number 4: Keep costs down. You can’t control how much your investments earn, but you can control how much you pay to invest in them. Save by using an online discount broker, and stick with low-fee index funds and actively managed no-load funds.

 

The Best Credit Cards for Customer Satisfaction

Lindsay bought a memory foam mattress from a store that guaranteed no interest financing for two years. Fourteen months after the purchase, interest charges surfaced on her bill.

A credit card David did not open showed up on his credit report as delinquent. The debt, which he discovered because he kept getting denied new credit, will remain on his credit history for seven years.

Joyce’s son purchased a wedding band on her credit card without her approval. When she contacted the jeweler, the store refused to do anything about it.

 Though their names have been changed for this article, these are all real complaints consumers have filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Credit Card rankings​ take into account consumer stories​ like these to evaluate credit cards on the market​. One factor of the methodology​, customer experience, uses CFPB complaints to determine how satisfied customers are with their credit cards.

Of the 18 credit card companies U.S. News reviewed, the issuers offering the best customer experience included American Express, BB&T and JPMorgan Chase.​ ​

To control for differences in the size of credit card issuers (banks and credit unions that offer credit cards)​, U.S. News divided

How Good is Your Employer’s 401(k)?

BrightScope recently identified the industries with the best 401(k) plans. Which industries came out on top?

Our rating system is based on how quickly the average participant in a given 401(k) plan is going to accumulate the money we believe someone needs to retire comfortably within his or her industry. Law firms, utilities, mining companies and airlines were top scorers because they typically offer plans with low fees and some form of profit-sharing. Employees in these industries are highly educated and well paid. They tend to contribute at a higher rate than do employees in lower-ranked plans, and they let those dollars grow over time.

How can I tell if my company’s 401(k) plan isn’t up to snuff?

High plan fees are a red flag. But remember that fees vary depending on plan size, industry and other factors. And fees pay for services; a 24-hour help line through which employees can get great advice may be worth the money. Also, the investment menu should meet your needs. If you’re nearing retirement, for example, make sure there are investment options that will get you there securely — for instance, a low-volatility fixed-income investment such as a stable-value fund.

Haven’t people

6 Money Strategies for the Sandwich Generation

When her father was diagnosed with a respiratory disease about seven years ago, Joy Frank-Collins juggled her work schedule and parenting demands to maximize the time she spent by his side. Frank-Collins, a 41-year-old who heads her own communications firm in Marietta, Ohio, also coordinated with her siblings to pay for expenses that weren’t covered by insurance. “If you know your parents will need your help, you have to think, ‘What can I set aside to provide the necessary support for my parents?'” she says. After a long fight with his illness, her father died at age 75 in January.

As a member of the sandwich generation — adults who simultaneous care for children and aging parents — Frank-Collins had to navigate what is becoming an increasingly familiar challenge. “Individuals who find themselves in the sandwich generation are forced with contemplating taking care of things today in a way that may negatively impact their future,” says Rebekah Barsch, vice president of financial planning for Northwestern Mutual. Family members might cut back on their work hours or sacrifice savings in order to care for aging parents, she adds. “The pressure, both financial and emotional, weighs on people,” she says.

Those pressures are one

How to Avoid Holiday Season Credit Card Rip-Offs

“Buy now, pay later” is the modern way of life. Credit cards are a highly profitable business for the companies that issue them, so it’s no surprise that banks continue to inundate consumers with credit card offers, especially during the shopping frenzy of the holiday season. These come-ons are among several financial traps lurking out there today.

Visa (V), MasterCard (MA), Discover Financial Services (DFS) and American Express (AXP): Their cards are common fixtures in hundreds of millions of wallets around the world. According to Federal Reserve data, the average credit card debt per card-holding U.S. household is $16,140. In total, the average American consumer owes $918.5 billion in credit card debt.

You probably get credit card offers in the mail all the time; the volume of unsolicited offers tends to increase the day after Thanksgiving. Here’s some important information that will help you sort through the pitches and separate the good values from the rip-offs.

The Introductory Rate

The introductory rate, or “teaser rate,” expires after a designated period of time. Federal law requires introductory rates to remain in effect at least six months after signup. This rate is below market and typically applies only to balance transfers and cash advances, although they

Why Defensive Stocks Aren’t Safe Anymore

Nervous investors should think twice before diving into so-called defensive stocks, especially those securities with high dividends. You might end up putting more risk into your portfolio than you realize.
Stocks that have less volatility than the overall market and pay higher dividends than most other stocks are often seen as a way to reduce risk in a portfolio. Traditionally, these are found in the defensive sectors, including consumer staples, utilities and health care.

Given the state of the world, it’s easy to see why investors would want to get defensive. The war in the Middle East is certainty getting hotter. Cities are under the threat of terrorist attacks, and tensions between Russia and Turkey increased when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border. Meanwhile, the European economy still looks saggy and the once-fast growing Chinese economy is decelerating. And the Federal Reserve looks set to start raising the cost of borrowing money sooner rather than later.

Sectors are trading at high multiples. The problem is that “the defensives are expensive,” says Ramona Persaud, portfolio manager for Fidelity Global Equity Income fund (FGILX), the Fidelity Dividend Growth fund (FDGFX) and the Fidelity Equity Income fund (FEQIX). Many of the

7 Secrets to ‘Regifting’ Without Getting Caught

Thinking of regifting this holiday season? You’re probably not alone.

A few years ago, 92 percent of those surveyed by the yard sale aggregator site Bookoo.com said that recycling gifts was OK, and almost as many were pretty sure they had received regifted items.

Done poorly, the practice can be downright insulting. Some of those surveyed reported receiving “gifts” such as 2-year-old fruitcake, monogrammed items (with someone else’s initials), fingernail clippers and a used toilet seat.

Then why regift? Several reasons:

  • It’s a budget booster. Having a couple of great things you can give means two gifts you won’t have to buy.
  • It’s eco-friendly. Instead of buying more stuff, you are recycling unused items.
  • It busts clutter. It helps clear your house of items collecting dust. These regifting guidelines can help you from crashing and burning on Christmas Day:

1. Make sure it looks new. Original packaging is best, folks. Something that’s been sitting unprotected on a shelf has likely picked up grime and might have faded where the sun hit it. If it’s been in the basement, it might smell musty.

If you have to blow dust off it, pass.

2. Remove any sign that the item is recycled. Flip through books to see if your dad underlined

12 Influential Experts Give Their Top Money Tips

When it comes to personal finance advice, there’s no shortage of it. In fact, you could spend countless hours reading the tips and strategies of experts to learn how to better manage your money. It can be overwhelming. So, wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply get the best advice from the best experts?

GOBankingRates asked some of the most well-known personal finance experts and entrepreneurs to share their top money tip for 2016 as part of our annual “Best Money Expert” competition in collaboration with Ally Bank. Here are the top tips these 12 finance experts offered to help you take control of your finances next year.

1. Be proactive with your money. As a best-selling author and host of his own popular radio show — with more than 8 million listeners — Dave Ramsey is one of the most well-known names in personal finance. His get-out-of-debt message has helped many eliminate debt and achieve financial success.

For 2016, Ramsey said you should “tell your money what to do instead of wondering where it went. People know what they need to do with their money, but they just don’t do it. Be proactive with your money — do a budget, get

Should You Get a Store Credit Card?

At checkout registers in department stores across the country, you can expect to receive a smile and a sales pitch. Well, at least a sales pitch. Store credit cards are moneymakers for businesses, and you can expect clerks to dangle a nice discount in front of you in the hope you’ll apply.

The discount on store merchandise and other rewards are often tempting — and many of us take the bait — but are store credit cards a good deal?

Pros of store credit cards

Store credit cards aren’t all bad. In fact, they can come with some nice benefits. As we see it, there are four major pros for getting a store credit card.

  • Discounts: Not only do you get an initial 10 percent to 20 percent discount when you sign up, you may also be in line to receive extra discounts all year long. Store credit card holders may be the first to receive special coupons or gain access to exclusive sales events as a reward for their loyalty.
  • Flexibility: Some, but not all, store credit cards are affiliated with one of the major credit card companies. That means your department store card can also be used for purchases elsewhere as a regular

8 Things That Are Cheaper at Target

There’s no arguing that Target has a loyal following among many shoppers. While the retail giant may not always have the lowest prices, it certainly attracts consumers happily willing to pay a little extra to avoid the crowded aisles of some other discounters.

But there are certain items which are almost always cheaper at Target (TGT) compared to other retailers. Here are eight such items that’ll save you money on your next Target shopping trip.

1. ‘Green’ Cleaning Products

Not only has Target led the natural cleaning trend over the past few years, but they often do it at a price lower than the competition. For example, Target sells the 28-ounce bottle of Method All-Surface Cleaner for an affordable $2.99, while Walmart sells the same product for $5.49 and Amazon sells it for $8.
Another great example is Green Works laundry detergent in the 90-ounce size; at Target you’ll pay $11.99, while you’ll pay $23.27 at Walmart and $19.21 at Amazon. You’ll also find similar savings at Target on other popular natural cleaning brands, including J.R. Watkins, Honest and Seventh Generation.

2. Kids’ Bedding and Decor

When buying bedding for your child’s room, your wallet will likely benefit greatly from shopping at Target. You’ll find

Home Improvement Projects That Can Hurt Your Property Value

Are you considering converting your home’s garage into a man cave? Before you permanently ditch parking and storage space in exchange for a testosterone-friendly getaway, you may want to consider this: your garage man cave project could hurt your home’s value and make it harder to sell.

Turning your garage into a living space is one of four home improvement projects highlighted by MarketWatch that could end up sucking the value out of your home.

Homeowners need to think carefully before they get rid of their garage and turn it into a man cave, family room or extra bedroom, because it could make their home less attractive to many people, New York real estate agent Brendon DeSimone, author of the book “Next Generation Real Estate,” told MarketWatch.

A recent survey by real estate investment and operating firm Crescent Communities found that 74 percent of homebuyers said having a garage is extremely or very important. If you still want to proceed with your garage project, consider leaving the garage doors on the outside so if you do sell your house, a buyer has the option to easily turn the space back into a garage, Michele Silverman Bedell, of New York-based Silversons Realty, told Marketwatch.

Here

Know the Risks of Year-End Mutual Fund Purchases

When it comes to investing, most experts offer the same advice: If you are a typical mutual fund buyer saving for college or retirement, don’t try to time the market. It’s a loser’s game.

Except that you might tweak your timing a little — just a little — at the end of the year, or you may get hit with a tax bill on year-end capital gains distributions that you don’t deserve. Because stocks have done well in recent years, many funds are sitting on large profits that could create big tax bills.

“Many mutual funds are expected to make sizable capital gains distributions this year,” says Mike Piershale, president of Piershale Financial Group in Crystal Lake, Illinois. “Some funds are paying out gains for the simple reason that the securities hit the manager’s price targets.”

Other funds, he says, trigger taxes by selling profitable holdings to pay cash to shareholders who are pulling out, disappointed by this year’s lackluster results, or who want to move to funds less likely to trigger big year-end tax bills in the future.

“This has triggered capital gains in a year where the stock market has not done that well,” he says.

What are

It’s Cash Over Mobile Payments This Holiday Season

Chances are you’ll be spending about $805 this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.

But chances are high you won’t be using mobile apps to pay for presents and party favors.

According to Bankrate.com, mobile payments just aren’t catching on with U.S. consumers of age groups. “Just 14 percent of U.S. adults who use a smartphone or a similar handheld device plan to use services such as Apple Pay or Android Pay even once this holiday shopping season, including 19 percent of millennials,” Bankrate states. “Among those who don’t plan to make mobile payments, the top reasons were ‘not secure enough’ (36 percent) and ‘other payment methods are more convenient’ (31 percent).”

What’s interesting about consumers and mobile payments is that the most common fear linked to digital payments — angst over security breaches — might be overblown. “The most common misconception surrounding mobile payments is that they are not secure,” says Mike Cetera, an analyst at Bankrate. “Truth be told, fraud is much more likely to occur on ordinary credit and debit card transactions. And of course

5 Habits That Will Inevitably Sabotage Your Finances

Money is an important part of our lives. We buy what we need with it, we fund our future with it and we support others with it.

Unfortunately, there are a number of bad habits that can sabotage our financial well-being. Some of these habits won’t destroy our finances right away, but over time, we may find ourselves in a dire situation with little hope of recovery.

Let’s take a look at some of these bad habits and how you can avoid or conquer them as quickly as possible.

1. Smoking. According to the CDC, “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.” Talk about bad for your finances and your health.

Let’s pretend for a moment that the only cost from smoking is what hits your wallet — not your lungs. OK, how much will you be spending?

Let’s say that a pack of cigarettes costs you $4.49 — although the price widely varies from state to state. And, let’s say you smoke two packs a day. That’s $8.98 a day.

There are 365 days in a year, so that’ll cost you about $273.14 a month. That’s a lot of money — especially when you figure that