Americans’ Biggest Money Mistakes

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You’ve made some life decisions that you’ve regretted, and some of those decisions surely involve money. What sort of money mistakes have you made?

Don’t be shy about admitting your financial mistakes. According to the latest version of Finder.com’s annual America’s Biggest Money Mistakes survey, you have 192 million fellow Americans to keep you company. More than three-quarters (78.3%) of respondents claimed to have made a money mistake in their lifetime. We’re surprised that number isn’t closer to 100%!

As Finder.com Consumer Advocate Jennifer McDermott says, “It’s understandable that so many have made a money mistake in our lifetime – we’re only human! However, while a slip-up doesn’t need to derail our entire financial wellbeing, it’s important to recognize the triggers to make better choices in the future.”

What’s the most cited financial mistake? By far, the winner …

10 Worst States To Live In With A Bad Credit Score

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What’s worse than a bad credit score? Having bad credit and living in a state where bad credit makes life even more difficult.

RewardExpert, a rewards optimization site, compared factors such as cost of living, usury laws, and the overall financial health of a state to determine how bad credit affects life in each state. Their findings suggest that you avoid the following states if your credit is substandard.

1. Washington – High prices in all categories and poor protections against predatory lending practices make Washington the most difficult state for consumers with bad credit.

2. Tennessee – The Volunteer State combines a high maximum allowable usury rate and poor rankings in all other categories to earn the status of second-worst state for residents with poor credit.

3. South Carolina – Prices are generally high in South Carolina, with housing and educational costs among the highest in th…

Get Money Back From Western Union Scams

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Western Union has served as a reliable method for rapidly sending money over long distances since the late 1800s. Once known for telegraphs, it currently offers services to more than 200 countries across the globe. Unfortunately, Western Union is frequently used by scammers, thanks to convenience, speed, and limited means of recovery for fraudulent transactions. According to a recent settlement, Western Union had not been doing enough to protect consumers from these scammers.

Between January 2004 and August 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that Western Union received over 550,000 money transfer complaints regarding popular scamming schemes, such as fake family emergency requests, fraudulent lottery winnings, or prize awards requiring upfront fees. Internal Western Union reports raised concerns about fraud committed by their own agents, but these concerns were not properly …

10 Best States To Live In With A Bad Credit Score

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It’s no fun having a bad credit score. You pay higher interest rates for your credit – if you can get credit at all. You have little room for financial error. A small, unexpected bill can cause big problems.

At least your hardships may not be as bad if you live in certain states.

RewardExpert, a site that helps users optimize credit and debit card reward programs, examined factors that affect residents with poor credit – such as typical expenses, usury laws to limit predatory lending, and the status of debt collectors – and how those factors vary in each state.

Where is bad credit more tolerable? Consumers with bad credit should avoid the coasts and stick to the Midwest – not surprising, given the typically high costs of living in coastal areas.

Here are the top ten states to live in when your credit score is low.

1. Iowa – Iowa tops the list by doing well in all categories. Iowa is tied for the lowest maximum usury …

Video: The Big Mistake This Instagram Star Made With Her Credit Score

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You learned reading, writing and arithmetic in school, but did you learn anything about credit? Watch award-winning wellness author Nikki Sharp share with MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia the credit score insights she wishes she’d been taught at school.

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Long-Term Mortgage Rates Hit A Seven-Year High

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It Will Cost You More to Buy A Home

The housing market topped a new threshold over the past week. Buoyed by a strong economy and a series of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates reached 4.61% – the highest number since May of 2011.

Rates crossed the 4% threshold in the week of January 11 and they have been on a relatively steady rise since then. If this pace continues, we’ll hit 5% before the year is out.

Should rising interest rates deter you from buying a home? Not necessarily, but it may cause you to re-think your definition of an affordable home.

How Much More?

To see the effect of higher interest rates, consider this example. Let’s assume you’re buying a $200,000 house with a 20% down payment. Your monthly principal and interest payment will be $764 at 4% interest, $821 at the current 4.61%, and $859 at 5%. For the $160,000 you are borrowing, the difference between 4% an…

Higher Credit Scores Needed For Home Purchase

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Welcome to the 2018 home-buying market. Rising demand and an extremely tight supply of homes, especially in the critical starter-home market, make it difficult to realize your goal of home ownership.

In this buyer’s market, you’ll need two important things to land your dream home – more money and a higher credit score.

Data from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University highlight the credit score issue. According to the 2017 JCHS study, “The State of the Nation’s Housing – 2017,” the median credit score for successful mortgage loan applications increased from a FICO score of 700 in 2005 to 732 in 2016. Lenders are still conservative in their risk assessments – aided in part by regulations put in place during the housing crisis.

In the pre-crisis market of 2005, around 10% of conventional first lien mortgages went to borrowers with a credit score below 620. That number fell to nearly zero by 2009, and as of 2016, it…

Who Lives At Home?

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We know the stereotype of the unmotivated millennial, living at home with their parents without any long-term plan or concern about their situation. Is that a fair representation? Do millennials disproportionately live with their parents? If so, is this from necessity, lack of motivation, or part of a grander strategy?

It’s logical that younger generations are more likely to live with their parents in a non-caretaker capacity, even in the best of times. Millennials suffered the added indignity of coming of age during one of the worst recessions in history while dealing with prohibitive student loan debt.

Previous information from the Pew Research Center found that in 2016 – after years of economic recovery – 15% of millennials surveyed still lived with their parents. That’s well above previous generations at that same point in their lives (10% for generation X, 11% of late ba…

Interest Rate Acronyms

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APR and APY – are they new texting acronyms? IDK, you say – or rather, you text? (For the benefit of the textually-challenged, IDK means “I don’t know.”) If you think they are texting acronyms, or just “DK” what they are, it’s time to learn.

APR and APY are financial acronyms, short for Annual Percentage Rate and Annual Percentage Yield, respectively. Both are interest rates, but they have a significant difference. APR does not address how interest is compounded – the default is the interest that you earn if you are depositing money, or pay if you are borrowing it – in one year. APY takes into account how often the interest is compounded.

If interest is compounded once per year, there is no difference between APR and APY – interest is added all at one time. However, let’s assume an interest rate is compounded monthly. In that case, the interest payment is divided up into twelve equal increments.

If you are earning interest on a deposit, that adds a sma…