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An Explanation of Your Credit Card’s 4 APRs

The Fine Print of APRs Whether we like it or not, the whole wide world seems to be filled with fine print. Even a receipt from the donut shop has its own share of tiny script laying out the rules and limitations on your purchase. But while it’s usually perfectly safe to ignore the fine print that comes with your morning bear claw, sometimes the paperwork is just as important …Read More

Debt Consolidation vs. Debt Settlement vs. Debt Management Program

What is Debt Consolidation? Debt consolidation typically involves getting a lower interest loan to pay off multiple high interest secured or unsecured debts, such as credit cards or payday loans. The consolidation loan is generally secured against the borrower’s assets such as a home or a car.  Because credit card debts have such high interest rates, even an unsecured consolidation loan can significantly reduce the borrower’s monthly payment. For some this …Read More

Start Handling Your Student Loan Repayment in 4 Steps

Student loan repayment can be overwhelming. It may be tempting to “think about it later” or stop paying on your loans when the budget gets tight. As much as you might be tempted to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist, ignoring your student loan payments or letting them go into default status can have serious consequences.  Potential consequences of defaulting on your student loans may include: Wage, tax and/or social …Read More

Holiday Debt Traps

Although we may wish otherwise, the fact is many things in life are rarely as good as they seem to be at first glance. In many cases, when you investigate the fine print, “free” is hardly ever really free, “deals” are usually anything but, and “guarantees” tend to have an awful lot of prerequisites or exclusions. As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing and our pocketbooks are flying …Read More

What Military Families Need to Know about the Changes to Military Retirement

by Shannon Razadin By now military families have heard about the impending changes to the military retirement system. Shannon Razsadin, executive director of the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), is here to break down what it means and explain who will be affected — and when. Why the change in military retirement? The DoD carefully considered the future of the force. The reality is, since the start of the all-volunteer …Read More

The Debt-To-Income Ratio Explained

What is the Debt-to-Income Ratio and how does it affect my mortgage application? by Kim Cole Dear Kim, I am considering buying my first home. I have been doing some research and keep hearing about debt to income ratio. What exactly is the debt-to-income ratio? Thank you, Ed Dear Ed, The debt- to- income ratio, or DTI, is a ratio that lenders use to determine how much of your monthly …Read More

Pulling your credit report: What is a Soft vs. a Hard Credit Inquiry?

By Meredith Wood There are lots of different ways to say “credit inquiry”— you might hear “credit pull” or “credit check” or even “credit audit.” Terminology might seem unimportant when there are so many words with identical meanings. However, within all of these terms, there is one very important distinction that, if you mix it up, could end up costing you a lot: the difference between a soft and a …Read More

3 Important Things to Know About Your Credit Card

Over the last few decades, the security, convenience, and rewards offered by credit cards have made them a popular cash alternative for many consumers. At the same time, consumers should remember that, as enticing as they may be, credit cards represent a line of credit.   Every swipe and chip insertion adds to your card’s balance — and the balance you accrue on your credit card is a form of …Read More

How and When to Use Federal and Private Student Loans

College comes with a lot of new expenses that many students encounter for the first time. While your financial aid may cover tuition and books, how will you fill in the other expenses of daily life? Should you use part of your student loans for living expenses?   Other options include private loans versus parent plus loans. You should leverage scholarships, part time work, and help from your family first. …Read More

Changing the Playing Field for the Credit Invisible and Unscorable

Credit is important. It follows you for your whole life and you can’t start over. It’s what enables you to get a cell phone, utilities, insurance, a car loan, and even a home mortgage. Yet, many individuals don’t know how their everyday financial behaviors and payments can influence this critical aspect of your financial life. This is further compounded by a big problem with the U.S. lending system – the …Read More