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What Insurance is Worthwhile? 3 Good Types and 3 Bad Types

What Insurance is Worthwhile? 3 Good Types and 3 Bad Types

Getting insurance is a wise way to protect against unexpected costs which could otherwise drain your bank account. Good coverage will help protect you and your family from financial ruin. But not all types of insurance are necessary or worthwhile-some insurance isn’t beneficial for most people, and isn’t worth the investment.

Here are three types of worthwhile insurance that most people would be wise to obtain, followed by three types of insurance that generally aren’t worth the investment.

Worthwhile: Homeowners or Renters Insurance

Getting insurance for your home is important. A storm or accident which destroys or damages your house can be catastrophic without insurance paying for the cost of repairing or replacing your possessions, so it’s important to get a good insurance policy when you are buying a house.

If you’re renting instead of buying, then purchasing renters insurance is a smart way to insure against loss. Your landlord’s insurance should pay for repairing the house or apartment, but renter’s insurance will cover your possessions should they be ruined in the case of fire, storm damage, theft, or other disasters.

Worthwhile: Life Insurance

No one likes to think about dying, but having contingency plans in place can save your family from the extra pain of legal and financial burdens. If you have spouse, children, or others in your life who would be financially impacted at your death then it’s important to have a life insurance policy. This can help replace the lost income from your job, cover the cost of childcare if you were a stay-at-home parent, cover burial and funeral expenses, pay for any death taxes, and ensure that your loved ones won’t suffer financial ruin in addition to emotional devastation.

Worthwhile: Auto Insurance

If you own a car then you’ve probably already got some auto insurance, since most states require to own at least some minimum amount of insurance for your car. But that amount typically isn’t going to be the best amount. A costly accident or breakdown could wipe out your savings and ruin your budget if your coverage isn’t sufficient, so it’s important to be realistic about what you need. Talk to your insurance agent to decide how much coverage you personally need, since your driving habits, routine, and choice of automobile should all contribute to determining the perfect amount for you.

Not Worth It: Private Mortgage Insurance

Put down a less than twenty percent down payment when purchasing your home and you’re likely to end up with private mortgage insurance on your loan. But this insurance, which you’ll likely pay for every single month, isn’t going to benefit you at all. Instead, it will only benefit your lender in the event of you not paying off the loan.

To avoid this extra monthly premium, try to put down a larger down payment. Twenty percent is a good number which will not only remove the need for private mortage insurance, but also result in lower interest payments.

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/122/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance.html

Not Worth It: Credit Card Fraud Liability Insurance

Here’s the deal: federal law already protects you in the event that your credit card happens to be stolen or misused. You’ll only be liable for $50, and many banks won’t even make you pay that figure if you’re willing to explain what happened and sign an affidavit verifying your story. Because of this federal protection, buying insurance to cover this very real possibility simply isn’t worthwhile. You aren’t going to be on the hook for fraudulent use of your credit card, so policies like this are essentially just a scam. Call your credit card issuer if you’re a victim of identity theft, rather than worrying about filing a claim.

Not Worth It: Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

Unless you have a statistically high chance of being severely injured or killed in your job or hobbies, then this type of coverage typically isn’t going to be useful. The types of injuries and death that are covered are simply too specific to benefit most people. Instead of paying for accidental death and dismemberment insurance, it’s generally much wiser get health insurance and life insurance.

The 5-Step Guide to Repairing Your Credit

The 5-Step Guide to Repairing Your Credit

A poor credit score is a major issue that can hold you back financially in several different ways. With bad credit, you’ll have a harder time getting approved for loans, credit cards, and anything else that requires a credit check, such as a rental application. When you do manage to get a loan or credit card, you’ll likely end up with a high interest rate. If you’re dealing with bad credit, there are a few important steps you should take to turn it around.

1. Obtain Your Credit Reports

You have three credit reports: one each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The law entitles you to one credit report from each of those credit reporting agencies per year, so you should always request your reports annually.

You may be wondering – why request your credit reports if you already know you have a bad score? There’s no guarantee that the information on those reports is entirely accurate. Go through each credit report yourself and make note of any errors you find.

2. Dispute Any Credit Report Errors

If you do end up finding an error on one of your credit reports, there are two ways you can handle it. You can contact both the party that provided that incorrect information and the credit reporting agency to dispute the error, or you can get in touch with a credit repair company to dispute the error on your behalf. A credit repair company will charge a fee for the service, usually after they have successfully had the error removed from your report.

Obviously, the cheapest solution is to handle any disputes yourself. Keep in mind though that the dispute process can be time consuming, and it’s not always easy to deal with creditors. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, it may be in your best interest to contact a credit repair company.

3. Pay Your Bills On Time

Late payments ding your credit, and if you habitually pay late or miss payments, those dings are going to add up and leave you with a bad score. With all the automatic payment options available through service providers and banks, it’s not difficult to make sure your payments arrive on time.

If it’s an issue with your cash flow, set up a budget so you know exactly how much money you have and your total bills for each month. Can’t afford your bills? Then it’s time to cut back on any unnecessary expenses.

Late and missed payments are one of the most preventable black marks on your credit report, so make a commitment to paying on time every month.

4. Lower Your Credit Utilization

Your credit utilization is the amount of your total available credit that you’re using. For example, if all your credit cards have a combined limit of $10,000 and you have combined balances of $6,000, then your credit utilization is 60 percent.

It’s best to avoid carrying around balances on your credit cards so you don’t incur interest charges. However, just carrying around a balance won’t negatively impact your score. It’s when your credit utilization climbs over 30 percent that your score starts to suffer. If you’ve racked up high balances on your credit cards, start by paying them down to below that 30 percent mark.

5. Consider Debt Consolidation

If you have a high amount of credit card debt, then you may want to try applying for a debt consolidation loan. Then, you’re able to pay off your credit card debt using the loan. You may be able to secure a loan with a lower interest rate than your credit cards, so you’ll end up paying less in interest. More importantly, loans don’t have the same negative effect on your credit score as credit card debt does. By switching your debt from credit card debt to a loan, your score will likely improve. It’s preferable to simply pay off your credit card debt, but if you can’t do so in a short period of time, a debt consolidation loan is a good alternative.

Repairing your credit requires financial discipline and an effective, realistic game plan. Follow the right strategy and you can expect a boost in your credit score within a few months.

6 Best Banks to Refinance and Consolidate Your Student Loans

6 Best Banks to Refinance and Consolidate Your Student Loans

Millions of Americans are so far into debt that they need to find a solution to the problem ASAP. Debt consolidation is an excellent solution because it can help the person to organize credit as well as increase the credit score over time. Many banks offer consumer consolidation solutions such as consolidation loans, home equity loans, lines of credit, and even balance transfer cards that can help with their debt. The following are six of the best banks for consolidating one’s credit in this day and age:

US Bank

US Bank is a reputable financial institution that boasts its advantages. A consumer can apply for the premier loan and use the proceeds to consolidate their debt. The Premier Loan is a loan of up to $25,000 that has a low APR of only 6.99 percent. A consumer can save a lot of mone on his or her debt simply by taking advantage of that low APR. other features that US Bank is proud of is its flexibility and its integrity. The establishment offers at least four different types of financial products that can help someone who is struggling with debt.

Discover

Discover is another banking institution that has been around for many years. It offers consolidation loans that are slightly higher than the ones that US Bank has to offer. Discover offers loans of up to $35,000. The one way that such loans differ is in the APR. Instead of offering a fixed interest rate of 6.99 percent for all, Discover allows the interest rate to adjust according to the consumer’s credit score. That system allows more consumers to become eligible for the advance. Even some people on the lower end of the credit score scale can get help. The Discover loan comes with a term of up to 84 months, and consumers have a period during which they can return the funds with no repercussions if they would like to cancel the advance.

The Lending Tree

The Lending Tree is an excellent place to search for a consolidation loan because it networks with a number of lenders. An interested person can sign up with the Lending Tree within five minutes and have the provider searching for a suitable lender that fast. Their personal loans are as high as $35,000, and they can be spread over five years. This company also offers student loan consolidation help. They can refinance student loans and give students APRs that are as low as 2.21 percent.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the longest standing banks in the industry. It is proud to offer its debt consolidation loans. Customers can request debt consolidation loans of up to $ 25,000. They can enjoy APRs that are between 9 and 25 percent. Consumers have rated Bank of America’s loans with four stars for their glowing customer service and high approval rate.

TD Bank

TD Bank is another bank that has been around for many years. The bank has a few options for its customers for debt consolidations. Their express loans are super-fast advances that they can have in their hands within 48 hours. The express loans rates have an 8.99 percent APR, and they can be as much as $15,000. Interested person can use the safe and secure application in to request their funds.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is another giant in the banking industry. Interested persons can obtain a consolidation loan from this trusted bank. Wells Fargo is probably the best out of them all for patience. The interest rates that people can experience through Wells Fargo are rates as low as 3.99 and as high as 10.99.

Choosing the Best Option

As a consumer, you should want to go with a company that offers you the best interest rate. Unfortunately, not all people will get the best interest rate that if they have poor credit, but it still may be better than what they currently have.

An interested person can apply for help from any one of these banks by visiting the page on student loan debt consolidation and then putting in an application. The application only takes a few minutes. The loan process may be completed the same day for some people. Interested persons should call or contact the company by written request.

Is It Worth The Cost To Have Pet Insurance?

Is It Worth The Cost To Have Pet Insurance?

If you have furry friends that live in your home, you are well aware of the cost of a visit to the vet. Just routine vaccinations and checkups can cost hundreds of dollars for just one pet, but what if you have more than one in your home? In the past few years, pet insurance has become one of the best ways to combat the cost of a trip to the vet. While still rather new in its inception, many are wondering if taking out a policy on Fido is worth the cost. Here are some things that you should consider when debating pet insurance.

How the Plans Work

When buying insurance for yourself, you review deductibles, premiums, and co-payments. The same can be said of insurance for your pet. Things work a bit differently, though. Rather than using the insurance at the vet, you must pay the bill out of pocket and be reimbursed by the insurance company. If you don’t have the money to pay the costs up front, pet insurance will do little good. Some companies, like Trupanion, are experimenting with paying the vet directly.

The cost of coverage is in line with the dog’s breed. Purebred animals are often more expensive to ensure as they are prone to hereditary health conditions, like hip dysplasia. Age is another deciding factor. Insuring a six-year-old dog is going to cost more than a pup that is one year of age. As an animal ages, naturally, the cost of their care increases. Some policies allow you to pick how much coverage you want per year as a maximum ceiling. Consequently, almost all of the policies will exclude any pre-existing conditions. They may also have breed-specific conditions too. Each company has exclusions and stipulations, so it is best to do some research before committing.

Having Protection For Furry Family Members

Pets can be very much like a baby, especially in their puppy stages. They think they are invincible. They put things in their mouth, chew on things they shouldn’t, and eat whatever is in sight. Take for instance a dog in a car accident in Ohio. Buster was pretty mangled up. He spent three days in the hospital. His owner was billed for intensive care, medication, tests, and lots of IV fluids. The total bill for this adventure was $1,783.

Thankfully, his owner was wise enough to purchase a policy that covered him in such events. The policy paid almost $1,400 of the bill. Some may say that $383 is a lot to pay for a pet, but it is a small fraction of what the charge was. Buster did make a full recovery. However, had his owner not bought the insurance, she probably wouldn’t have been able to pay for a stay. Her options would have been to have him euthanized or let him suffer, neither option is favorable for Buster.

Playing the Odds

It is estimated that about 1.4 million pets within the United States are covered by pet insurance. Unfortunately, that is less than one percent of pets. Many are shocked to find that pet insurance is one of the fastest growing employee benefits now offered. These policies only cover dogs and cats, but there are a few companies that will insure birds, turtles, snakes, and rabbits. The most common policies are through Embrace, Healthy Paws, Pet Plan, Pet First, Hartville, and Trupanion.

Is It Worth The Cost?

To make the decision of whether pet insurance is worth it or not you must examine many elements. If you find yourself at the vet often, then it is probably worth the cost to have the coverage. Unfortunately, it won’t work for pets who already have a serious illness, like cancer. The premiums can be quite costly for older dogs, who need the coverage the most. Even if your dog or cat is relatively healthy, unfortunately, you can’t tell the future. Those who have the attitude that they will euthanize if the costs are high, probably are not the people who should get pet insurance. For those pet parents who would give anything they have to keep their animal safe, it is worth every penny.

How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Refinance Rate

How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Refinance Rate

Refinancing your home’s mortgage can save you countless sums of money if you’re currently locked into a high-interest rate agreement. Mortgage refinancing is often done to extend the length of a loan term, get a better interest rate or to simply change mortgage brokers. Unfortunately for some, refinancing comes at a cost, and the outcome is not always desirable to the recipient of the loan. There have been many cases in recent years where people have refinanced to avoid foreclosure, only to find it becoming an even bigger problem when they get locked into a sub par agreement.

Here are some methods you can utilize to find the lowest mortgage refinance rates:

Get that Credit Score Up

Any loan or mortgage company is going to look at your credit score before anything else. Your credit score gives a pretty solid view of your financial past and level of responsibility. Low credit scores are often the result of bad investments, unpaid credit cards and delinquent loan payments. Mortgage companies see these issues and could deny your refinance because they simply don’t trust you enough to pay back the loan. Raising your credit score takes time, but it’s better to slowly work on increasing it than sit back and idly watch those loan denials come in.

You can raise your credit score by being current on all credit card and loan payments, consolidating debts to lower costs and by removing errors on your credit report by contacting the Federal Credit Bureau.

Raise the Value on Your Home

If you’re asking for a refinance loan at a lower price than what your home is worth, you’re more than likely going to receive what you ask for. Mortgage companies often use what is known as a loan-to-value ratio. This means that they assess your home’s value and will only hand out a loan for what the appraisal has been established for the property. You can do a number of things to increase the overall value of your property such as landscaping, structural repair and aesthetic restoration.

Have All of the Necessary Paperwork

Refinancing your home mortgage often requires two year’s worth of federal income tax returns, recent pay stubs and bank account information. If you invest in stocks and bonds, you’ll also need to bring in all of this documentation. Failure to present this paperwork will not only hold up the process of refinancing, but some banks will even deny your loan before it can be assessed because it is wasting their time to wait for you.

Be a Smart Shopper

Let’s face it, there is a sea of mortgage companies all promising that they offer the lowest rates. The lowest rate can only be found if you first sift through the plethora of companies that you’ve discovered. An average refinancing rate is currently at 4.00 percent. Anything above this is too much and will result in a hefty monthly mortgage payment that makes refinancing useless. A rate below this point is excellent and will help the process of refinancing pay off. Some companies will tell you upfront what their refinancing rates are, but others will require a short initial application to even get to that point.

Know the Process

Refinancing your mortgage is a lot like taking out a brand new loan because, essentially, this is exactly what you’re doing. You are simply replacing your old loan with a new, lower-cost option. Because of this, you’ll need all of the same paperwork you brought in when initially applying for your mortgage. Before wasting your time making a trip to the bank, contact them beforehand and get a checklist of all the documentation you’ll need. Once you apply for the refinance loan, you should hear back from the lender within a couple of weeks to say if you’ve been approved or denied. It’s important to only apply for one refinance at a time to avoid receiving duplicate approvals.

Refinancing your loan is great for the average homeowner who is struggling to stay afloat and avoid foreclosure. Before signing any important paperwork, make sure you’re getting the best rate pertinent to your current credit score.

Save Big Money On Your Next Car Purchase

Save Big Money On Your Next Car Purchase

A car is an essential part of commuting through life. When you first buy that vehicle, you expect it to last forever. However, after a few years, it is time to replace your car for a newer and more efficient model. Today, the average automobile owner will pay around $33,000. Back in the late 1970’s, the average price was under $6,000. To say that the price of cars has gone up is an understatement. You want the best deal when you buy your next vehicle, so here are 10 ways you can ensure you don’t pay a dime more than you should.

1. Don’t Use Lots The Have No-Haggling Slogans

The latest thing in the used car industry is to declare a lot a ‘no-haggling’ zone. These lots put their supposed best price on the sticker. Most of them won’t even entertain the thought of a lower price. So, you want to make sure you pick a lot that is willing to deal. You can rest assured that their no-haggle price is not their best deal.

2. Never Take A Car Home For The Night

Another way that car lots like to try to entice buyers is to let them take a car home for the night. Many people are sold the minute they drive out of the lot. The goal is to act like you don’t need that car and you can walk away. Most of the time when they get you to leave in the car, they know they have you.

3. Skip The Ad-Ons

Car lots will want to add all sorts of extras to your purchase. Skip things like scotch-guard and other services that you can do yourself for less. A car lot may charge $500 for scotch-guarding your seats, but you can buy the stuff and do it for about one-fifth of the cost.

4. Never Let The Salesman Know How Much You Can Spend

If you have $25,000 cash in your pocket, never let the salesperson know. They are less eager to give good deals to those who they think are well endowed. Some people even dress down to go car shopping. Looking like a ‘charity case’ may help you get the best deal.

5. Don’t Discuss Your Trade-In Till The End

Your trade-in should be a bargaining tool. However, you need to make sure you don’t disclose all your secrets until you are ready to make the purchase. Many car lots will inflate the price of the car to cover the trade-in, so they don’t have to pay you a dime.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Walk

If you don’t like what the sales person offers, then don’t be afraid to walk away. Some call this the “trump card,” as the salesman will miraculously come up with a stellar offer right when you are ready to walk. Sure, it eats into their commissions a bit, but it is worth it to them to get that sale.

7. Don’t Focus on the Monthly Payment

Many people go in with the monthly payment in mind. Focus on the total cost of the car and the terms, the payment should only be one factor. If you are so worried about the payment that you skip over little details, they can add all sorts of things to the package price and you might not even notice.

8. Never Shop Weekends

Car lots are always crowded on the weekends. Shopping during the week means that the sales person is more willing to bend to get a sale. On the weekend, they are moving people in and out quickly. They may be less willing to make that sale when they have already have made 10 that day. You will get your best deals when the lot is not full of customers.

9. Don’t Buy For Incentives

Some car lots will try to get you into a car that is packed with incentives. The incentive sweetens the purchase but it should never sway you to make a deal. If you get $1,000 cash for a vehicle that is too small or not what you need, you will only lose in the long-run. You need to buy for your needs and budget, and if there are incentives to be had, it will be an additional bonus.

10. You Don’t Have To Pay Dealer Marketing Fees

Some dealers will try to include dealer marketing fees into your final price. While you do have to pay sales tax, license fees, and other miscellaneous costs, you are not responsible for the dealer marketing costs.

Finally, make sure to read over any paperwork you sign. Car lots are notorious for slipping a few things in that you didn’t agree to. To get the payment you need, they will often finagle the numbers. Make sure that any number shifting is in your favor and not theirs.

How and Why You Should Refinance Your Mortgage

How and Why You Should Refinance Your Mortgage

Securing a home loan for your first property may have seem like a major challenge. Down payments, interest rates and other information were unfamiliar at the time. Now that you’re an experienced homeowner, you may want to dip your toes back into the lending stream. It’s possible to lower your monthly mortgage with a refinancing process. When the time is right, learn how and why you should refinance your mortgage to save hundreds of dollars in just one year.

Low Interest Rates

A common reason to refinance your mortgage is simply lower interest rates. You may have been locked into a rate that was two or three points higher than today’s average. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, you can streamline some loans so that the process is faster than a standard refinance. Working with a new lender might take several weeks to complete the transaction. However, the wait is worth it because several hundred dollars can be taken off of your monthly payment when a lower interest rate is chosen.

Taking Cash Out

For many homeowners, your property has a higher value than the current loan amount. You have equity that can be used as cash, but you’ll need to refinance in order to take these funds out. These refinance options are normally referred to as cash-out refinancing, according to the Federal Reserve. You agree to a higher loan amount, cover the cost of the home’s balance and deposit the extra cash in your checking account. Ideally, use these funds to improve the home so that they’re contributing to the future equity in the property.

Better Credit History

Many homebuyers end up in a crunch as escrow closes by having a less than stellar credit score. They agree to a higher interest rate as a result. When credit histories improve, it’s time to shop around for a new rate. Apply with several lenders in order to see the range of values. If the rate is one or two points lower than your current interest, it’s normally worth the effort to refinance. In some cases, you may want to wait a few more months for another uptick on your credit score and possible interest-rate decreases. Timing is everything during a refinance project.

Time to Change the Terms

In the past, you could opt for a 30- or 40-year loan term to spread out the costs. The 30-year term still exists today along with the 15- and 20-year options. If you have a term length that’s less than appealing, refinancing to a better one is a smart move. Extra cash in the bank each month may mean that a 15-year loan is better than the 30-year type, for example. You can save thousands of dollars on interest by switching to a shorter term length.

Get Rid of Mortgage Insurance

If you bought your home with a stipulation that mortgage insurance was necessary, refinancing to remove this clause is preferable. This insurance is mainly protection for the lender when you have a small, down payment. It can add up in costs throughout the years. Refinance at any term length, and the insurance clause will be instantly removed in most cases.

Costs are Worth the Effort

Refinancing a home loan is never without some costs. Closing fees, appraisals and other charges can add up to thousands of dollars that are tacked onto the final loan amount. Use an online calculator to see if refinancing at this point is smart for your household. Families who want to live at the property for several more decades will see the value in a refinancing with standard fees. Moving in the next few years, however, means you want to avoid charges that reduce your equity in any way.

You’ll receive refinancing documents that are very similar to your initial paperwork during the home purchase. Although lenders will explain all of the details within the documents, be sure to read the fine print. Mistakes can occur during any transaction. Papers can be rewritten and resubmitted as necessary. In the end, you should have a refinanced loan that reflects your negotiations with the lender. The transaction will ultimately help your financial situation.

Checking vs. Savings Accounts: What’s the Difference?

Checking vs. Savings Accounts: What’s the Difference?

When putting money in a bank and managing accounts, it can be helpful to understand the differences between checking and savings accounts. Most banks and credit unions offer both types of accounts, and they serve different purposes. There are also special rules and regulations that govern each type of account. Most depositors find it beneficial to have at least one checking and savings account.

What is a Checking Account?

When most people put money in their bank, they are using a checking account. A checking account allows a depositor almost unlimited access to the funds they put in the account, and they are generally the most useful account type. Checking accounts are designed to handle frequent deposits and withdrawals without penalizing the depositor. Most debit or ATM cards are linked to a checking account. True to the account’s name, paper checks also link to a checking account.

Financial institutions primarily offer checking accounts as a service to customers. Banks don’t generally make any money from checking accounts, and some banks may charge service fees for having a checking account. From the bank’s perspective, a checking account is a way to attract customers to the bank in hopes that they will use other services like savings accounts or loans. Since the bank considers funds in a checking account to have low reliability, they generally do not offer interest on the money because they will not use it to back loans.

A checking accounts is extremely useful for everybody. It keeps money secure and allows for easy electronic access to funds. Many banks also provide customers with free tools to track savings and spending, which can help with managing a budget. Having a checking account also makes it easier to get paid. Most employers today prefer to pay through direct deposit rather than traditional paper checks. Direct deposit is difficult or impossible without a checking account.

What is a Savings Account?

A savings account is a different kind of deposit account that allows a person to save money in a secure place and take advantage of interest the bank may pay on that money. Savings accounts generally have higher minimum balances and are not designed to be used for frequent withdrawal. In fact, most banks have strict limits on the amounts of withdrawals that can be made from a savings account per month and will begin penalizing a depositor who goes beyond this limit.

If a person needs money from his or her savings, it is better to move a large amount of it into a checking account once and then spend from the checking account. Savings accounts are also frequently used as overdraft protection funds for checking accounts. If a depositor overdrafts their checking account, it triggers an automatic transfer from savings and prevents penalties and charges associated with overdrafts.

Banks consider savings accounts to be a slightly more secure deposit investment compared to checking accounts. For this reason, banks are willing to provide a small amount of interest payment to a savings account as an incentive to keep larger balances in the account. The bank my then use some of these funds to back loans. Keep in mind that even if the bank is using the funds to back a loan, this has no direct effect on the depositor or the account balance. It is merely the bank’s internal workings.

Savings accounts are generally good ways to keep money saved and far more secure than using physical cash or a safe. Depositors interested in making more interest, however, may want to consider moving their money to a deposit account with a higher yield. Sometimes high-yield savings accounts can be used but they have much higher minimum balances. A certificate of deposit is a similar type of account, but unlike a savings account the money placed there cannot be accessed for a certain period of time. The advantage is that the interest for a CD is much higher.

Money Security in Banks

Some depositors fear that they may lose control of their money if it is held by a bank. There is actually very little risk of this. All types of deposit accounts, including checking and savings accounts, are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company or FDIC up to a certain amount—currently $250,000. If a person begins to hold a balance beyond this limit, they can always open another account because each account is insured independently.

This insurance is a government service designed to increase consumer confidence in banks. If the bank is robbed or even if the bank itself collapses, the government will pay out the value of accounts held at that bank. This has never happened on a large scale, but the existence of the FDIC helps to increase depositor confidence.

Anyone 18 years old or older can legally open a checking and savings account in their name. It is a good idea to have such an account when you get a job or begin saving money.

Cellphone Companies: Go Big or Small?

Cellphone Companies: Go Big or Small?

You may be tempted to pick a carrier like Verizon or AT&T because it sounds like a fancy carrier and everyone else has it, but is it really worth the money? A prepaid plan like MetroPCS may not seem so appealing, but it may save you more money in the long run. Here are six carriers and reasons for why you should, or shouldn’t, consider using them.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has a smartly-priced unlimited data plan that’s great for families, but this type of plan streams videos at lower resolutions. Other useful features the carrier offers includes weekly giveaways and great pricing for international travel.

This carrier is a great choice for those that live in the city. In the past T-Mobile hasn’t fared so well outside of cities, but they’re working on it. T-Moblie lags behind other big carriers when it comes to customer support testing.

Verizon

Verizon has an extensive network, which covers plenty of markets. They are also at the top of the 4G network performance charts. This carrier excels when it comes to customer service, whether it’s online or on the phone. When I was under this carrier and had phone issues it was quite easy to get in touch with someone for help.

This carrier is now making it so that you get more data with monthly plans, and currently their 4GB for $70 is looking good for those who need a phone plan only for themselves. It will also add 2G of data per line for any plan that’s 8 GB or larger.

AT&T

Their customer service is even better than Verizon. It’s the best actually. They also have a great selection of phones to choose from. AT&T’s network performance is solid, making this a solid carrier to stick with.

They’re still working on improving their brand by making better cell phone plans, getting rid of overage fees, and charging one device an access fee instead of charging according to how much data you’ll use. There are added benefits if you decide to use AT&T’s TV service too.

It should be known that their family plans can be more costly than their competitors, and that subscribers have few perks other than enjoying great customer service and network performance.

MetroPCS

MetroPCS is the fastest discount carrier out their, with upload and download speeds faster than a big carrier like Sprint. It’s a top choice for pre-paid carriers. There are also a range of appealing plans, with $30 for a 1GB plan for those who don’t use the phone much, going up to $60 for unlimited service.

One of its biggest downsides is that customer service is horrible. MetroPCS also has a limited number of phones and features, which is typical of a discount carrier. Besides international calling, there’s not many other features.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile relies on Sprint’s network for service, which hampers their performance. There are not too many positive aspects that makes this phone look great. It has a limited plan selection, but there is a $35 data plan that gives you a lot of data.

The carrier has lowered their rates and boosted their LTE data amount for their plans, but that’s about it. It has some of the worst phone selections, and you can’t use your own device. One of its few redeeming qualities is good customer service, especially when using the on-phone menu options to answer questions.

Cricket Wireless

The network performance is horrible. In fact, it’s one of the worst carriers for network performance. And it’s a shame, because Cricket Wireless has a great plan for families, has been increasing discounts on multiple lines, and it has some amazing customer service.

This would be a great carrier, but the network speed is just too slow. This phone comes with few special features. Options for international calling is pretty much the only perk you’ll get.

As you now know, more isn’t always better, but sometimes buying too cheap a carrier can be costly in the long run. Consider where you live, your family’s phone habits, your phone habits, and income to figure out which plan works best for you.

The Definitive Guide to Debt Consolidation Loans

The Definitive Guide to Debt Consolidation Loans

Debt is an enigma. Handled property, incurring debt has become an essential part of life in the U.S. and around the world. After all, very few are the number of families or individuals that can afford to buy a home or a car without taking on debt. Where people have to be particularly careful is when they begin taking on credit card and/or personal unsecured debt. That’s when the tables can turn and people find themselves facing serious debt issues.

The Road to Bankruptcy

In the worst of situations, excessive credit card debt has often been the pathway to bankruptcy. For anyone who believes bankruptcy is nothing more than a minor setback, they will soon realize that the consequences can be quite significant for a long period of time. According to data accumulated from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court system, there were over 805,000 bankruptcy filings for the 12-Month Periods Ending September 30, 2016. Additionally, there was a total of 1,164,747 bankruptcy cases with pending status at the end of September 2016. That’s a lot of people facing the prospects of bad credit for 7-10 years. Bad credit can affect one’s ability to make major purchases, secure a job or obtain emergency services.

Credit Card Debt in the U.S.

Considering how many people are dealing with a bankruptcy, it warrants a look at the current credit card debt stats as reported by the Federal Reserve. for the period ended September 30, 2016. Average credit card debt per household stood at over $15,000. When considering that 14.7% of the families in the U.S. had credit card debt that exceeded 40% of their annual income, it becomes increasingly easier to understand why so many families find themselves facing severe financial difficulties.

Debt Consolidation – A Viable Solution for Escalating Debt

The signs pointing toward financial disaster can be subtle. With that said, it is possible to deal with potential problems before they reach uncontrollable levels. As indicated above, bankruptcy is a potential solution, but it comes with tremendous repercussions. The same could be said for debt settlement where advocates acting on behalf of their customers will ask the customer’s creditors for actual debt relief, which also results in restrictive consequences. That leaves debt consolidation as the most viable solution.

Debt consolidation is suitable for individuals who have lots of consumer and personal debt owed to a lot of different creditors. It can be quite tasking to deal with multiple creditors and having to write multiple checks every month. If one’s credit is still in reasonably good shape, there are lenders out there that could be willing to approve a debt consolidation loan through an accredited debt counselor.

The Benefits of Debt Consolidation

In order to be a viable debt solution, any proposed action should offer the indebted individual relief financially, mentally and emotionally. With peace of mind, people can get back to living a normal life without having to hide from creditors. So what exactly are the benefits of debt consolidation?

If a borrower on a debt consolidation loan for bad credit is still able and willing to meet their overall debt obligation, there’s usually very little effect on their credit rating. That’s a great benefit because it keeps certain borrowing options available for emergencies. A debt consolidation loan also provides the borrower with the opportunity to consolidate a number of monthly payments into a single payment, which saves a lot of time and effort. In a lot of situations, a debt consolidation loan will carry an effective interest rate that actually reduces the amount of interest being incurred each month. That translates to a lower overall monthly cash outlay and the option to reduce the outstanding principle balance with larger payments over a shorter period of time.

In a pinch, debt consolidation offers a solid way to avoid debt problems and prevent any undue stress on the individual and/or the family. It may not be a viable solution for people whose debt problems have already adversely affected their credit rating, but it is a viable solution for those people who just need a little boost to help them get back on track.

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