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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quick Tip #4

The lower your revolving balances, higher your credit scores.

The higher your revolving credit balances, the lower your credit scores.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Than Wheels: Not for Profit Organization Helping People Rebuild Credit

From their website:  

More Than Wheels is an award-winning nonprofit organization that helps people get the best deal on a reliable and fuel-efficient car. Since its establishment in 2001, More Than Wheels has helped nearly 1,200 New England residents get the best deal on a new or nearly new car by negotiating with dealers to secure the lowest price and providing the lowest interest rate available. We provide personal financial education by giving people the tools and knowledge they need to improve and maintain their financial stability—now and in the future.
As a result of the new car and empowered with the knowledge and skills, many are able to improve their job prospects, their family’s health and well-being, their credit and overall financial stability. A survey conducted by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire showed that among More Than Wheels clients surveyed:
  • 75 percent reported spending less on car repairs.
  • 73 percent reported a better overall financial outlook.
  • 50 percent are better able to get to their jobs.
  • 52 percent had improved access to health care.
  • 38 percent have improved access to nutritious food options.

Get the Best Deal on a New Car

Whether you have good credit or need help with your finances, our car-buying experts will:
  • Help you find the car that fits your needs.
  • Negotiate with the dealer and the bank on your behalf to get the lowest price and interest rate.
  • Help you save on gas and repairs with a reliable, fuel-efficient car.

Improve Your Finances

For people who need help with their finances, More Than Wheels' award-winning program features a comprehensive Financial Fitness course that can help you raise your credit score and improve your financial planning. Our program has helped nearly 1,200 New England residents save money and plan for the future.
 More Than Wheels -

Do you know of a local not for profit that does similar work?  Have you had any experience (good or bad) with this or another not for profit?  We'd like to hear about it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quick Tip #2

If given the option to pay down a car loan or credit card debt, pay down your credit card debt.  Paying off a car or other installment loan will not give your score the boost you are looking for.  Pay down pay down your existing credit cards first, then make additional payments to your secured cards and make sure you pay off credit card in full balances each month before the statement drop date.

Just think of all the interest you are saving and put these savings to work by paying down your installment debt!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bankrupt Presidents

Even presidents have had their fair share of financial difficulties.

Ulysses S. Grant - Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, became a partner in a financial firm which went bankrupt. Dying from throat cancer, Grant wrote a memoir to pay off his debts.

Abraham Lincoln - The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, declared bankruptcy not once but twice.  He spent 17 years of his paying off the money that he borrowed from friends to start his business. It took Lincoln 30 years to achieve his goal of becoming President of the United States.

William McKinley - William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, found himself $130,000 in debt after he co-signed on a loan for a friend and the friend went bankrupt.

Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson the 3rd President of the United States, filed several bankruptcies in his lifetime; and, his debt was huge in comparison to most individuals' bankruptcies today.

Harry S. Truman - Harry S Truman, 35th President of the United States had a failed business file bankruptcy.  A month before Truman was married, banking on their success at Fort Sill and overseas, Truman and Jacobson opened a haberdashery of the same name at 104 West 12th Street in downtown Kansas City. After a few successful years, the store went bankrupt during the recession of 1921, which greatly affected the farm economy

Bankrupt CEOs

Ever wonder if the most successful people out there every have financial problems?  Think they were born making money?  Well this list of well know CEO's had their fair share of financial problems before they became stable.  Check it out...

William C. Durant - William C. Durant founded General Motors, Chevrolet and Durant Motors. Durant Motors was established in 1921 but unfortunately failed in 1933 after the Great Depression. Durant filed for bankruptcy in 1936 being $914,231 in debt and lived out the rest of his life managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan.

Milton Hershey - Milton Snavely Hershey founded Hershey’s Foods Corporation in 1903 but didn’t find success immediately in life. Hershey dropped out of school after 4th grade, because his family moved around a lot, and got an apprenticeship as a printer. He wasn’t keen on the business and tried his hand at candy. His first four attempts failed and forced him to file for bankruptcy but his fifth resulted in a major corporation that’s doing pretty darn good to this day.

Donald Trump - Donald Trump found himself $900 million in debt in 1990 and lost a lot of his business ventures but somehow restructured his debt to be back on top running a billion-dollar empire.

Henry Ford, 1863-1947, automobile manufacturer, first two automobile manufacturing companies failed. The first company filed for bankruptcy and the second ended because of a disagreement with his business partner. In June 1903, at the age of 40, he created a third company, the Ford Motor Company with a cash investment of $28,000.00. By July of 1903 the bank balance had dwindled to $223.65, but then Ford sold its first car, and as they say the rest is history.

William Fox – Co-founder of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Charles Goodyear – Founder of Goodyear Tire Co.

Henry John Heinz – Henry John Heinz, 1844-1919, condiment manufacturer, started his company in 1869 selling horseradish, pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar. In 1875 the company filed for bankruptcy due to an unexpected bumper harvest which the company could not keep up with and could not meet its payroll obligations. He immediately started a new company and introduced a new condiment, tomato ketchup to the market. This company was, and continues to be, very prosperous.

They Filed Bankruptcy?

With so much finger pointing these days it is easy to feel embarrassed and ashamed if your credit is less than perfect or if you are in debt up to your eyeballs. But even those who have had no choice but to file bankruptcy are in good company. Did you know that Walt Disney and Abraham Lincoln are in this group?

Below are five people most would never have guessed to have filed bankruptcy:

Walt Disney - Walt Disney’s name is synonymous with Mickey Mouse and the “happiest place on earth,” Disneyland. However, Disney’s career wasn’t always a moneymaking venture. In 1921, he began a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri but was forced to file for bankruptcy two years later because his financial backers pulled out. It must have been fate because Disney then headed to Hollywood and became one of the highest paid animators in history.

Benedict Arnold - Benedict Arnold fought on the American side of the Revolutionary War but didn’t get the attention he felt he deserved so he switched to the British side. He went bankrupt after the war when a failed financial venture caused him to lose everything.

P.T. Barnum - P.T. Barnum is best known for being half of the “Barnum & Bailey Circus” but he actually didn’t get into that until he was 61-years-old. He first opened a museum in New York City showcasing nature’s oddities like Tom Thumb who was only 2 feet 9 inches tall. He also put a bunch of dough into the development of East Bridgeport, Connecticut and went bankrupt when that didn’t work out. He bounced back in four years and got into the circus business.

Buffalo Bill - Buffalo Bill organized his “Wild West Show” in the late 1800’s and went on to become quite wealthy. Even though he made millions touring the country, he was also very generous and gave away so much money that he had to file for bankruptcy in 1914. He died bankrupt in 1917 and was buried on Lookout Mountain.

Frances Ford Coppola - Responsible for directing the Godfather trilogy and winner of five Academy Awards before he was 40, Francis Ford Coppola was $300,000 in debt before the first Godfather movie came out. He then was able to rebound but began bankruptcy proceedings after his 1982 musical One From The Heart tanked. Luckily, he borrowed the money from his mother to get into the wine business and again turned his financial future around.

If these famous and historical people can bounce back from losing every thing so can you!  Take control of your finances and credit history today, make a promise to yourself to do a little each day to bring you that much closer to your financial dreams.

Thomas Paine - Thomas Paine, known for the pamphlet Common Sense, greatly benefited from his move to America in 1774. He was broke and facing bankruptcy and to top it off, his second marriage had just ended, so moving across the ocean was a logical next move.

Rembrandt - Rembrandt went bankrupt in 1656 and his house and collections were auctioned. Unfortunately, the money raised wasn’t enough to cover his debt so he set up an art-dealing business to keep his creditors at bay.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pay Down Car Loan vs. Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Dear Katrina:

I have been working to improve my credit score by paying down my debt so my wife and I can finally buy a home.  Last month we were really excited and proud of ourselves for paying off one of our vehicle loans and have been eagerly anticipating the bump to our scores. 

As you suggested, we have been subscribed to Equifax's Credit Watch.  The other day we received the alert that the loan had been paid in full.  We were surprised and extremely disappointed that there was not a boost to our credit score.  We can't understand this at all.  We paid off one of my wife's credit cards that was maxed out and it boosted her score almost 50 points.

Why didn't our credit score increase? What did we do wrong?

Mike and Kelly
Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Keeping Your Credit Score High

Credit scores can be lowered by a number of events. Most consumers know that paying bills late or having a collection account added to their credit report will automatically lower their credit score. Credit savvy consumers even know that maxing out credit card accounts will have a negative effect on their credit rating. What many people don't know is that they can lower their credit score by using the wrong type of finance company, closing the wrong account or even shopping for a car.

Read more at Suite101: Keeping a High Credit Rating on a Credit Report: Ten Unexpected Ways to Lower a Credit Score

Friday, August 6, 2010

Raise your Credit Score Quickly with Rapid Rescoring

A new and growing part of the credit industry is rapid rescoring services. These innovative companies offer to correct inaccurate credit report info in 72 hours or less.

Read more at Suite101: Rapid Rescoring: Raise Your Credit Score Quickly

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fair Credit Reporting Act, Inquiries and Requests for Credit Reports

According to the information found in the FCRA, consumers have a right to view information contained in their credit file, dispute inaccurate information and be provided with a free annual credit report. The Federal Trade Commission has published a full text version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA for consumers who would like a copy of the entire 86 page statute.

Read more at Suite101: Inquiries and Requests for Credit Reports: Permissible Purpose as Defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act
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The Federal Trade Commission requires that I disclose any relationship I may have between a product manufacturer or service provider when I write about a product or service.

My intention for this blog is to provide consumers with the knowledge to improve their current personal credit situation. It is the readers responsibility to do additional research and to make responsible decisions based on their own personal financial situations.

My promise to my readers is as follows:

  • I am never paid to do a review of a product or service. I do not accept money to review credit cards, credit repair companies etc... When reviewing a product or service, I invest my own time and money to review and test credit products and credit services listed on this site.
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I feel the rules and practices listed above are just good business in today’s digital world. It is important for you the reader to understand the relationship between the person reviewing a product and the manufacturer or service provider.

If you don’t see a disclosure policy on a blog, that reviewer may be violating the law or at the very least the Code of Ethics.