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Should I Buy a Home Before Paying Off My Student Loans? Five Factors to Consider

Americans owe more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero. That sum is the result of 44 million borrowers or roughly two-thirds of students graduating from four-year colleges. Many people in their 20s and 30s with student loan debt wonder whether they can or should buy a home while they are still in debt. Some find they are perfectly capable, while others realize they are …Read More

Ask an Expert: What’s the Best Way to Use My Inheritance?

Q. I have an inheritance of $19,000. I have some credit card debt (almost $20,000) on a card whose introductory 0% interest. I do not have an emergency fund for some repairs that are currently needed and would probably have to go back into debt to make the repairs. Should I start making payments on the current credit card debt and use the inheritance for repairs?   Dear reader, It …Read More

“Spring Cleaning” Your Wallet

From the birds tidying up their nests to the gardeners preparing their land, spring is the time that we clean away the cobwebs of winter and get ready for the year ahead. But while many of us take part in an annual spring cleaning of our homes, few of us extend that same principle to one of our messiest places: our finances.   Cleaning Up Your Finances The idea of …Read More

Ask an Expert: What’s the Difference Between Disposable and Discretionary Income?

What is the difference between disposable and discretionary income? Dear Reader, This is a very good question. Although you only have one income, there are many ways of describing it based on the amounts withheld or deducted. For instance, your disposable income is the amount of money you have left over after you’ve paid all of your federal, state and local taxes. On the other hand, your discretionary income is …Read More

Retirement Planning for Small Business Owners

Small business owners are in a unique position when it comes to planning for retirement because, as their own boss, they will not have a 401(k) or pension option from an employer planning retirement on their behalf. With a number of different plan options (the SEP IRA, the Self-Employed 401(k), Simple IRA, the Simple 401(k), and the Roth IRA, to name a few), deciding on one takes patience and sometimes, …Read More

Ask an Expert: What are the Consequences of Bankruptcy?

Q. What are the consequences of bankruptcy?   Dear Reader, Bankruptcy is a legal process that can eliminate many of your debts and even help you keep some of your property. It is the fresh start some people need to rebuild their finances, yet it has long-term negative consequences.   For instance, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7–10 years, depending on the type you file, even …Read More

How to Start Managing Small Business Finances

Starting a small business is an exciting, yet daunting process. You’ve decided to venture out on your own and may not be entirely versed on how to manage business expenses. And that’s okay. Tackling all that comes with a small business takes a lot of work, so it’s essential to get organized right away. From time management to money management and everything in between, your small business will require lots …Read More

When Should You Consolidate Credit Card Debt?

The Reality of Using Credit Cards Between card designs, rewards programs, and one-step purchasing, it can be easy to become credit card complacent, so comfortable swiping for everything that you start to overlook the fact that credit cards are a form of debt. Every time you use your credit card, you borrow the money for each purchase from the issuing bank — and you are responsible for paying that money …Read More

NFCC Hosting the #CreditCrew Twitter Chat with Equifax, Experian, and Transunion Thursday, Feb. 15 @ 4PM EST!

Do you have questions about credit reports and credit scores? Join us as we host the #CreditCrew Twitter chat featuring Equifax, Experian and TransUnion on Thursday, February 15th at 4p.m. ET. This chat will cover some of the most commonly asked questions about credit reports and credit scores. For an easy way to follow along and participate click here. Topic:  Credit 101 Host:  The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Questions We’ll Discuss: Q1: What is the difference …Read More

Ask an Expert: What options do I have to repay debt before collections?

Q:  I have overextended myself with credit card debt and acquired loans to try to pay them off and just gotten deeper and deeper. I am not behind on anything however it is getting harder to keep up. I do not want to let my bills get so behind that they fall into the hands of a debt collector. What options do I have to repay my debt? Dear reader, …Read More