Archive for November, 2011

Credit Scores – Things that Do/Don't Matter

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Saldutti

Nearly 1 in 6 people believe race and gender affect their credit score, according to a recent VISA study published last month.  The study reveals a lot of mistaken assumptions people have about their credit scores. For something that affects our ability to get everything from a home or car loan to a job, life insurance, and a decent credit card, it literally pays to understand what’s going on.  But 42% of Americans don’t even regularly check their score, the study says. Take a look: Employment history: 59.9% Interest rates on debt: 58.7% Assets / savings: 53.1% Age: 38.6% Where you…

Think Small This Saturday – November 26, 2011

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Saldutti

In a few days, thousands of small businesses across the U.S. that take the American Express card will promote Small Business Saturday — an initiative meant to rival big-box retailers vying for consumer dollars on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the holiday season kicks into full gear. This is the second year American Express is running the promotion meant to encourage consumers to shop in locally owned, non-chain stores. But this year the initiative has seen significant expansion, a foreshadowing of the potential of this growing movement. Small Business Saturday was created last year by American Express in response…

Jerks Have Best Credit; Nice Guys Finish Last

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Saldutti

If you’re cranky, selfish, rude or all-around disagreeable, your grouchiness comes with one big silver lining: You’re likely to have better credit than people who are affable, friendly and otherwise pleasant company. This unlikely finding was discovered in a study to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. “One of the interesting findings is that agreeableness is negatively correlated with credit scores,” says Jeremy Bernerth, lead researcher and professor at Louisiana State University. “You’d think that someone who’s agreeable might be more likely to pay their bills on time, but we kind of found the opposite.” So, why do…

Save Another $500 Tax-Free

Posted on November 13, 2011 by Saldutti

Thanks to the new cost-of-living adjustments recently announced by the Internal Revenue Service, taxpayers can stash an extra $500 in their 401(k) retirement piggy banks next tax year.  The mandatory increase accounts for inflation, which hasn’t been raised since 2009. Previously, the inflation rate had been to low to merit the change. The IRS is raising the maximum annual contribution employees can make before paying taxes from $16,500 to $17,000.  The limits also apply to contributions to similar accounts, such as federal employee-held Thrift Savings Plans, most 457 plans, and 403(b) plans for nonprofit workers and school employees.  The “catch-up” contribution…

3 Things Credit Card Companies Won’t Tell You

Posted on November 03, 2011 by Saldutti

After the CARD Act regulations squeezed banks’ profit margins, some abusive practices were ended while new loopholes opened.  Underwriting, which is the process issuers and banks use to determine what kind of financial risk you pose, whether or not to lend to you, and on what terms, became a whole lot trickier. Credit underwriting has always been a closely-guarded secret, but educated consumers can use these financial tricks to make their credit cards work for, instead of against, them. Here are three things your credit card company doesn’t want you to know, according to The Business Insider, and how to…