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December 11, 2014
December 11th, 2014 by

Christmas Shopping Spree - Money Management
Before you whip out those credit cards for this holiday season, you may want to review your knowledge of credit scoring. If you have any big financial purchases planned for 2015, like a home purchase, you’ll want to make sure you do things that will improve or maintain your credit rating.

The most common credit score is based on software developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO)® and expressed as a three-digit number ranging from 300 to 850 (see chart). The score is derived from a formula using five weighted components: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and types of credit in use (10%).1

Here are some tips that could help you maintain or potentially improve your score.

  • Use at least one major credit card regularly and pay your accounts on time. Setting up automatic payments could help avoid missed payments. If you do miss a payment, contact the lender and bring the account up to date as soon as possible.
  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving debt.
  • Use older credit cards occasionally to keep them active. Closing them may actually hurt your score.
  • Don’t open or close multiple accounts within a short period of time. Only open accounts you need.
  • Monitor your credit report regularly.

fico scoreYou can order a free credit report annually from each of the three major consumer reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. You’ll usually have to pay to see your credit score. If you are turned down for credit or receive less-than-favorable terms, you have a right to receive your score for free from the lender with an explanation of how the determination was made.

If you find incorrect information on your credit report, contact the reporting agency in writing, provide copies of any corroborating documents, and ask for an investigation.

Sources: 1) Fair Isaac Corporation, 2014

As the holiday season approaches and you find yourself feeling “worried” about money, please make an appointment to meet with me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation. Peace-of-mind regarding money is only achieved when we manage it together.

Contact my office at 1-833-313-7233 | MD, VA & DC.

Freeman Owen, Jr - Host of SAFE MONEY TALK on CBS The Big Talker 1580AM
December 3rd, 2014 by

Once upon a time in American marriages, the husband “brought home the bacon” and made all the big financial decisions, and the wife received a “household allowance” to buy groceries and other everyday necessities.

But, not in today’s fast-paced world! Not only have women entered the workforce in large numbers but they’ve risen to high-level positions in the business world. On average, women in dual-earner households earn around half the family’s income, and about one out of four married women earn more than their husbands.1

Despite the stereotype of men being threatened by successful women, men whose wives earn as much or more than they do actually report higher levels of happiness. But higher-earning wives are more stressed about money than higher-earning husbands or lower-earning wives, perhaps because they are trying to balance the “traditional” woman’s role while also carrying the financial load.2
Financial Bacon - Spending money
Here are some steps you and your spouse can take to forge a more successful financial partnership.

Create a budget. Only 32% of households have a budget to track monthly income and expenditures, and only 30% have a long-term saving and investment plan.3 Budget for your basic monthly expenses and include monthly payments/set-asides for other regular expenses, emergency savings, and retirement savings.

Prioritize discretionary spending. Once you have budgeted together for necessities and savings, each spouse should make a “wish list.” Compare lists and focus on areas of agreement.

Allow some personal freedom. Consider putting money into a joint account to pay regular expenses and keeping some discretionary funds in separate accounts that you can each use as you wish, up to a mutually agreeable limit. One study found that men would spend an average of $1,231 without discussing it with their wives, but women would only spend an average of $396 without discussing it with their husbands.4 Setting a limit in advance could help prevent conflict down the road.

Recognize individual strengths. If one partner is more comfortable putting money into financial vehicles and the other is more focused on paying bills, there’s nothing wrong with giving more responsibility to one person for certain aspects of your financial life. Just keep the other spouse in the loop.

Sources:
1–2) Money, June 2014
3) Gallup, 2013
4) Experian, 2014

Freeman Owen, Jr - Host of "Safe Money Talk" on CBS Radio The Big Talker 1580AM Money always matters because it affects your financial future. Start early with your retirement plans so that you never outlive your nest egg dollars. Let me help you do it right! Meet with me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office.

Call 1-833-313-7233 | MD, VA & DC.