Construction Liens 101

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A construction lien, otherwise known as a mechanic’s lien, is a claim that is made against a property by a contractor, subcontractor, or other professional party involved in a construction project. These liens exist to protect construction professionals from non-payment for materials or services rendered.

If you are withholding payment to a contractor for a construction project of any sort for substandard work or another dispute, the contractor has a right to file a construction lien on your property. Unfortunately, the same principle allows a subcontractor to file a construction lien on your property if the contractor did not pay the subcontractor. You, as the property owner, are still potentially on the hook.

Do not ignore a construction lien filed against your property. In the best case, the lien makes it virtually impossible to sell or refinance your property. If it is …

Your Low Credit Score Could Cost You $45,000

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Your credit score is one of the primary items that lenders check when they consider loaning you money. A lower score means greater risk, and lenders will charge you a higher interest rate because of that difference – but how much could it cost you over the lifetime of a loan?

According to a new study from LendingTree, if you have only fair credit instead of very good credit, the difference can cost you over $45,000.

LendingTree analyzed loan data from their database to assess the costs of a lower credit score as applied to five different sources of borrowing (credit card debt, personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and mortgages). Interest was calculated based on the average loan amount for each type of credit. Combined, the loans totaled $310,263 – dominated by the average mortgage loan of $234,437.

At interest rates available with very good credit (740-799), the total interest payment over the lifetime of all five credit sources was $212,498. At t…

Why Millennials Aren’t Buying Homes

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Waiting to Buy

According to a new study by the Urban Institute, millennials are waiting longer than previous generations to enter the housing market. Approximately 8% fewer millennials of ages 25-34 own homes as compared to baby boomers and generation Xers at the same point in their lives.

Why are millennials late to homeownership? The Urban Institute provided several reasons:

External Factors

The study found three primary external factors keeping millennials from entering the market.

1. Lack of Supply – Affordable housing is rare in more popular urban areas that millennials prefer (and where jobs are located). Housing starts are at approximately 1.2 million – an improvement from the post-housing crisis 550,000 units in 2009, but still below levels from the 1960s. Low supply leads to high prices even for modest homes.

2. Tight Cred…

How To Negotiate With A Collection Agency

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Do you have a bill that has been turned over to a collection agency? Of course, you’ll want to make things right as well as remove the negative effect on your credit score. But what if you can’t afford to pay the bill in full? Why not try to negotiate with the debt collector? They likely bought the debt at a significant discount and may be more willing to accept a deal – and then you are on the path to a clearer mind and a better credit score.

If you decide to negotiate, make sure that you are prepared to follow through properly. Don’t try to shortcut by paying third parties to do it for you. Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride agrees, noting, “Don’t fall for this idea that another company’s going to be able to resolve this for you if you just pay them some fee.” McBride suggests sticking with the creditor or collection agency that owns the debt, since the current debt owner is the only one that can verify to the credit bureau that the debt has been paid.

Received A Credit Card Rate Increase Notice?

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How many times have you tossed notices from your credit card issuer without reading them? The best answer is “never.” You could be discarding a credit card interest rate increase notice.

Credit cards can change annual percentage rates (APRs) under various circumstances dictated in the terms and conditions of your credit card agreement (another document that you might have tossed).

Generally, the card issuer is required to provide notice of a rate change 45 days in advance, so you have at least one billing cycle to pay down your balance or consider alternatives. However, you should know that you don’t always receive explicit notice of an impending credit card rate increase.

When you incur a penalty APR from actions like missed payments, the effect is immediate because the terms were already spelled out in your card issuer’s terms and conditions (along with how …

4 Out Of 5 Americans Lie For Money

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Have you ever lied for financial gain? The odds are strong that you’ve done it at least once. According to a new study from finder.com, almost 4 out of 5 Americans have admitted to lying for some type of financial gain – and many don’t feel guilty about their lies.

Over 2,000 U.S. adults were asked if they had committed any of the financial lies presented in a list, from the illegal to the merely unethical. A surprising 78% of respondents admitted to at least one of the transgressions. Assuming a random sample, the study implies that almost 193 million American adults have lied for financial gain at some point in their lives.

Over half of respondents had lied in two specific areas – pocketing found money that wasn’t theirs (56%) and accepting an undercharge or excess change without bringing it to a seller’s attention (52%).

Close to one-third of respondents lied about

5 Steps To Take Before Retirement

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Are you planning to retire within the next 10 to 15 years?If so, are you ready to take retirement preparedness to the next level?

Retirement is no longer an abstract concept when you reach your 50s. It’s important to take a closer look at your financial plans now, while you have time to make any corrections. Consider these five steps to ensure the retirement of your dreams – or at least avoid the retirement of your nightmares.

1. Outline Your Retirement Goals – What do you really want to do when you retire? Buy a retirement home on the beach? Travel abroad? Start an expensive hobby? It’s time to figure out how to pay for those goals.

Lay out your primary retirement goals and estimate the major expenses associated with them. Place those expenses on a timeline spread throughout your retirement. You now have an estimate of how your cash flow needs will change because of your retirement plans.

2. Rethink Your Expenses –

Use The Digit App To Pay Down Credit Card Debt

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Are you having trouble saving money while simultaneously dealing with excessive credit card debt? Mobile savings apps such as Digit and Qapital can help you establish an automatic saving routine – but Digit has introduced a new Digit Pay feature to assist with paying down credit card debt while you save.

According to the company, approximately 75% of Digit’s customer base carries credit card debt. It’s likely that a significant number of those customers only make minimum payments on their cards each month. Repayment times and interest charges grow quickly when you are only making minimum payments – and it only gets worse if you continue to rack up new charges each month.

Digit Pay assists by allowing you to set a credit card debt goal to chip away at your debt. The Digit app analyzes your spending and income patterns, determines how much you can affo…

Car Leasing 101

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So, you are in the market for a new vehicle, huh? You’ve got some important decisions to make. New or used? Coupe or sedan? Import or domestic? Fire engine red or metallic silver?

But perhaps your most important decision, at least from a financial standpoint, is how you will pay for the vehicle. You have three main options: pay the full vehicle price in cash, borrow money to pay for the vehicle, or lease the vehicle.

About one out of every four new vehicles that is sold today is leased, according to Edmunds.com. So, while leasing is popular, most car buyers still prefer to pay cash for their vehicles or finance them. To decide which option is right for you, you need to understand the details and nuances of each.

Paying In Cash and Vehicle Financing

From a pure cost standpoint, paying in full without financing may be the smartest option — if