Budgeting Tips for the Sandwich Generation: How to Care for Kids and Parents

Everyone knows that raising kids can put a serious squeeze on your budget. Beyond covering day-to-day living expenses, there are all of those extras to consider—sports, after-school activities, braces, a first car. Oh, and don’t forget about college.

Add caring for elderly parents to the mix, and balancing your financial and family obligations could become even more difficult.

“It can be an emotional and financial roller coaster, being pushed and pulled in multiple directions at the same time,” says financial life planner and author Michael F. Kay.

The “sandwich generation”—which describes people that are raising children and taking care of aging parents—is growing as Baby Boomers continue to age.

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 17 percent of adult children serve as caregivers for their parents at some point in their lives. Aside from a time commitment, you may also be committing part of your budget to caregiving expenses like food, medications and doctor’s appointments.

Budgeting tips for the sandwich generation include communicating with parents.

When you’re caught in the caregiving crunch, you might be wondering: How do I take care of my parents and kids without going broke?

The answer lies in how you approach budgeting and saving. These money strategies for the sandwich generation and budgeting tips for the sandwich generation can help you balance your financial and family priorities:

Communicate with parents

Quentara Costa, a certified financial planner and founder of investment advisory service POWWOW, LLC, served as caregiver for her father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, while also managing a career and starting a family. That experience taught her two very important budgeting tips for the sandwich generation.

First, communication is key, and a money strategy for the sandwich generation is to talk with your parents about what they need in terms of care. “It should all start with a frank discussion and plan, preferably prior to any significant health crisis,” Costa says.

Second, run the numbers so you have a realistic understanding of caregiving costs, including how much parents will cover financially and what you can afford to contribute.

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17 percent of adult children serve as caregivers for their parents at some point in their lives.

– The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Involve kids in financial discussions

While you’re talking over expectations with your parents, take time to do the same with your kids. Caregiving for your parents may be part of the discussion, but these talks can also be an opportunity for you and your children to talk about your family’s bigger financial picture.

With younger kids, for example, that might involve talking about how an allowance can be earned and used. You could teach kids about money using a savings account and discuss the difference between needs and wants. These lessons can help lay a solid money foundation as they as move into their tween and teen years when discussions might become more complex.

When figuring out how to budget for the sandwich generation, try including your kids in financial decisions.

If your teen is on the verge of getting their driver’s license, for example, their expectation might be that you’ll help them buy a car or help with insurance and registration costs. Communicating about who will be contributing to these types of large expenses is a good money strategy for the sandwich generation.

The same goes for college, which can easily be one of the biggest expenses for parents and important when learning how to budget for the sandwich generation. If your budget as a caregiver can’t also accommodate full college tuition, your kids need to know that early on to help with their educational choices.

Talking over expectations—yours and theirs—can help you determine which schools are within reach financially, what scholarship or grant options may be available and whether your student is able to contribute to their education costs through work-study or a part-time job.

Consider the impact of caregiving on your income

When thinking about how to budget for the sandwich generation, consider that caring for aging parents can directly affect your earning potential if you have to cut back on the number of hours you work. The impact to your income will be more significant if you are the primary caregiver and not leveraging other care options, such as an in-home nurse, senior care facility or help from another adult child.

Costa says taking time away from work can be difficult if you’re the primary breadwinner or if your family is dual-income dependent. Losing some or all of your income, even temporarily, could make it challenging to meet your everyday expenses.

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“Very rarely do I recommend putting caregiving ahead of the client’s own cash reserve and retirement.”

– Quentara Costa, certified financial planner

When you’re facing a reduced income, how to budget for the sandwich generation is really about getting clear on needs versus wants. Start with a thorough spending review.

Are there expenses you might be able to reduce or eliminate while you’re providing care? How much do you need to earn each month to maintain your family’s standard of living? Keeping your family’s needs in focus and shaping your budget around them is a money strategy for the sandwich generation that can keep you from overextending yourself financially.

“Protect your capital from poor decisions made from emotions,” financial life planner Kay says. “It’s too easy when you’re stretched beyond reason to make in-the-heat-of-the-moment decisions that ultimately are not in anyone’s best interest.”

Keep saving in sight

One of the most important money strategies for the sandwich generation is continuing to save for short- and long-term financial goals.

“Very rarely do I recommend putting caregiving ahead of the client’s own cash reserve and retirement,” financial planner Costa says. “While the intention to put others before ourselves is noble, you may actually be pulling the next generation backwards due to your lack of self-planning.”

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Making regular contributions to your 401(k), an individual retirement account or an IRA CD should still be a priority. Adding to your emergency savings each month—even if you have to reduce the amount you normally save to fit new caregiving expenses into your budget—can help prepare you for unexpected expenses or the occasional cash flow shortfall. Contributing to a 529 college savings plan or a Coverdell ESA is a budgeting tip for the sandwich generation that can help you build a cushion for your children once they’re ready for college life.

When you are learning how to budget for the sandwich generation, don’t forget about your children’s savings goals. If there’s something specific they want to save for, help them figure out how much they need to save and a timeline for reaching their goal.

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Ask for help if you need it

A big part of learning how to budget for the sandwich generation is finding resources you can leverage to help balance your family commitments. In the case of aging parents, there may be state or federal programs that can help with the cost of care.

Remember to also loop in your siblings or other family members when researching budgeting tips for the sandwich generation. If you have siblings or relatives, engage them in an open discussion about what they can contribute, financially or in terms of caregiving assistance, to your parents. Getting them involved and asking them to share some of the load can help you balance caregiving for parents while still making sure that you and your family’s financial outlook remains bright.

The post Budgeting Tips for the Sandwich Generation: How to Care for Kids and Parents appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

Source: discover.com

Guide to Managing Finances for Deploying Service Members

Life in the military offers some distinct experiences compared to civilian life, and that includes your budget and finances. The pre-deployment process can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re organizing your money and bills. 

It’s important you provide your family with everything they need to keep you and any dependents comfortable and stable. This means gathering paperwork, making phone calls to service providers, creating new budgets, and organizing your estate. The more you prepare ahead of time, the less you have to worry about the state of your investments and finances when you return home. 

To help make the process easier, we’ve gathered everything you need to know for deployment finances. Read on or jump to a specific category below:

Pre-Deployment Needs

  • Review Your Estate
  • Reassign Financial Responsibilities
  • Update Your Services
  • Build a Budget
  • Prepare a Deployment Binder

Deployment Needs

  • Protect Yourself From Fraud
  • Adjust Your Savings
  • Financial Assistance

Post-Deployment Needs

  • Update Your Budget
  • Pay Off Debt
  • Review Legal Documents

Before Your Deployment

There’s a lot of paperwork and emotions involved in preparing for deployment. Make sure you take plenty of time for yourself and your loved ones, then schedule time to organize your finances for some peace of mind. 
investments, and dependents. It’s an important conversation to have with your partner and establishes:

  • Power of attorney
  • Living will
  • Last will and testament
  • Long-term care
  • Life insurance
  • Survivor benefits
  • Funeral arrangements

Anyone with property, wealth, or dependents should have some estate planning basics secured. These documents will protect your wishes and your family in the event you suffer serious injury. There are several military resources to help you prepare your estate:

  • Defense Finance And Accounting Services’ Survivor Benefit Plan and Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan
  • Department Of Defense’s Military Funeral Honors Pre-arrangement 
  • Service Member’s Group Life Insurance
  • Veterans Affairs Survivor’s Benefits
  • The Importance Of Estate Planning In The Military
  • Survivor Benefits Calculator

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows you to cancel a housing or auto lease, cancel your phone service, and avoid foreclosure on a home you own without penalties. Additionally, you can reduce your debt interest rates while you’re deployed, giving you a leg up on debt repayment or savings goals. Learn more about the SCRA benefits below:

  • Terminating Your Lease For Deployment
  • SCRA Interest Rate Limits
  • SCRA Benefits And Legal Guidance

 

Build a Deployment Budget

Your pay may change during and after deployment, which means it’s time to update your budget. Use a deployment calculator to estimate how your pay will change to get a foundation for your budget. 

Typically, we recommend you put 50 percent of your pay towards needs, like rent and groceries. If you don’t have anyone relying on your income, then you should consider splitting this chunk of change between your savings accounts and debt. 

Make sure you continue to deposit at least 20 percent of your pay into savings, too. Send some of this towards an emergency fund, while the rest can go towards your larger savings goals, like buying a house and retirement. 

Use these resources to help calculate your goals and budgets, as well as planning for your taxes:

  • My Army Benefits Deployment Calculator
  • My Army Benefits Retirement Calculator
  • Mint Budget Calculator
  • IRS Deployed Veteran Tax Extension
  • IRS Military Tax Resources
  • Combat Zone Tax Exclusions

 

Prepare a Deployment Binder

Mockup of someone completing the deployment checklist.

Illustrated button to download our printable depployment binder checklist.

It’s best to organize and arrange all of your documents, information, and needs into a deployment binder for your family. This will hold copies of your estate planning documents, budget information, and additional contacts and documents. 

Make copies of your personal documents, like birth certificates, contracts, bank information, and more. You also want to list important contacts like family doctors, your pet’s veterinarian, household contacts, and your power of attorney. 

Once you have your book ready, give it to your most trusted friend or family member. Again, this point of contact will have a lot of information about you that needs to stay secure. Finish it off with any instructions or to-dos for while you’re gone, and your finances should be secure for your leave. 

While You’re Deployed

Though most of your needs are taken care of before you deploy, there are a few things to settle while you’re away from home. 
Romance and identity scams are especially popular and can cost you thousands. 

  • Social Media Scams To Watch For
  • Romance Scam Red Flags
  • Military Scam Warning Signs

 

Adjust Your Savings 

Since you won’t be responsible for as many bills, and you may have reduced debt interest rates, deployment is the perfect time to build your savings.

While you’re deployed, you may be eligible for the Department of Defense’s Savings Deposit Program (SDP), which offers up to 10 percent interest. This is available to service members deployed to designated combat zones and those receiving hostile fire pay.

Military and federal government employees are also eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan. This is a supplementary retirement savings to your Civil Service Retirement System plan.

  • Savings Deposit Program
  • Thrift Savings Plan Calculator
  • Civil Service Retirement System
  • Military Saves Resources

 

Additional Resources for Financial Assistance

Deployment can be a financially and emotionally difficult time for families of service members. Make sure you and your family have easy access to financial aid in case they find themselves in need. 

Each individual branch of the military offers its own family and financial resources. You can find additional care through local support systems and national organizations, like Military OneSource and the American Legion. 

  • Family Readiness System
  • Navy-marine Corps Relief Society
  • Air Force Aid Society
  • Army Emergency Relief
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
  • Military Onesource’s Financial Live Chat
  • Find Your Military And Family Support Center
  • Emergency Loans Through Military Heroes Fund Foundation Programs
  • The American Legion Family Support Network

After You Return Home

Coming home after deployment may be a rush of emotions. Relief, exhaustion, excitement, and lots of celebration are sure to come with it. There’s a lot to consider with reintegration after deployment, and that includes taking another look at your finances. 

 

Update Your Budget

Just like before deployment, you should update your budget to account for your new spending needs and pay. It’s time to reinstate your car insurance, find housing, and plan your monthly grocery budget. 

After a boost in savings while deployed, you may want to treat yourself to something nice — which is totally okay! The key is to decide what you want for yourself or your family, figure if it’s reasonable while maintaining other savings goals, like your rainy day fund, and limit other frivolous purchases. Now is not the time to go on a spending spree — it’s best to invest this money into education savings, retirement, and other long-term plans.

In addition to your savings goals, make sure you’re prepared to take care of yours and your family’s health. Prioritize your mental health after deployment and speak with a counselor, join support groups, and prepare for reintegration. Your family and children may also have a hard time adjusting, so consider their needs and seek out resources as well. 
FTC | NFCC 

The post Guide to Managing Finances for Deploying Service Members appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

The Best Student Loan Companies For Refinancing

Refinancing your student loans can make good financial sense, and that’s especially true if your current loans are stuck at a high-interest rate. With a new loan at a lower APR, you could save a bundle of money on interest each month and ultimately pay your student debt off faster. Consolidating several loans into one new one can also simplify your financial life and make keeping up with bills a lot easier.

College Ave and Earnest topped our list, but since student loan refinancing is an incredibly competitive space, you’ll also want to spend time comparing student loan companies to see who offers the best deal. Many lenders in this space offer incredibly low APRs, flexible payment options, borrower incentives, and more. This means it’s more important than ever to shop around so you wind up with the best student loan for your needs.

What You Should Know About Refinancing Federal Student Loans with a Private Lender

The lenders on this list can help you consolidate and refinance both federal student loans and private student loans. However, there are a few details to be aware of before you refinance federal loans with a private lender.

Switching federal loans to private means giving up federal protections like deferment and forbearance. You also give up your chance to qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Income Based Repayment (IBR). Income-driven repayment plans let you pay a percentage of your discretionary income for 20 to 25 years before ultimately forgiving your remaining loan balances, so this perk isn’t one you should give up without careful thought and consideration.

Best Student Loan Refinancing Companies of 2021

As you start your search to find the best student loan for your lifestyle, take the time to compare lenders and all they offer their customers. While there are a ton of reputable companies offering high-quality student loan refinancing products on the market today, there are also companies you should probably steer clear of.

To make your search easier, we took the time to compare most of the top lenders in this space in terms of interest rates offered, fees, borrower benefits, and more. The following student loan companies are the cream of the crop, so you should start your search here.

Our Top Picks:

  1. Splash Financial
  2. College Ave
  3. Earnest
  4. SoFi
  5. CommonBond
  6. LendKey
  7. Wells Fargo
  8. PenFed Credit Union

Student Loan Refinancing Company Reviews

1. Splash Financial

Splash Financial may be a newer company in the student loan refinancing space, but their offerings are competitive. This company lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and their variable rates currently start at just 2.25% APR.

Not only are interest rates offered by Splash Financial industry-leading, but the company has a 95% customer satisfaction rate so far. Their cutting-edge technology also lets you apply for your loan and complete the loan process online, meaning less hassle and stress for you as the borrower.

Check Out Splash Financial’s Low Rates

2. College Ave

College Ave offers student loan refinancing products that can be tailored to your needs. They offer low fixed and variable interest rates, for example, and you’ll never pay an application fee or an origination fee. You can even qualify for a discount if you set your loan up on autopay, and a wide range of repayment schedules are available.

College Ave also offers a wide range of online calculators and tools that can help you figure out how much student loan refinancing could help you save and whether the move would be worth it in the end. Considering their low variable rates start at just 2.74% APR, there’s a good chance you could save money by refinancing if you have excellent credit or a cosigner with great credit.

Get Started with College Ave

3. Earnest

Earnest is another online lender that focuses most of its efforts on offering high-quality student loans. This company lets you consolidate debt at a lower interest rate than you might find elsewhere, and you get the option to pick a monthly payment and repayment period that works with your budget and your lifestyle.

While you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest interest rates, loans from Earnest come with variable APRs starting at 1.81% and low fixed rates starting at just 3.45%. To qualify for student loan refinancing with Earnest, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 650 and a strong employment and income history. You also need to be current on all your bills and cannot have a bankruptcy on your credit profile.

Refinance and Save with Earnest

4. SoFi

Also make sure to check out student loan refinancing company SoFi as you continue your search. This online lender offers some of the best student loan refinancing products available today, including loans with no application fee, origination fee, or hidden fees.

SoFi lets you apply for and complete the entire loan process online, and they offer live customer support 7 days a week. You can also check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, which makes it easier to see how much you could save before you commit.

Get Pre-Approved with SoFi in Less than 2 Minutes

5. Commonbond

Commonbond is another online student lender who lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. With student loan refinancing from Commonbond, you could easily save thousands of dollars on interest with a new fixed interest rate as low as 3.21%. Repayment terms are offered for 5 to 20 years as well, letting you choose a new monthly payment and repayment timeline that works for your needs.

You can apply for your new loan online and note that these loans don’t come with an origination fee or any prepayment penalties. Your loan could also qualify for forbearance, which means having up to 24 months without payments during times of financial hardship.

Apply Online with Commonbond

6. LendKey

LendKey offers private student loans and flexible student loan refinancing options to serve a variety of needs. You can repay your loan between 5 and 20 years, and their refinance loans don’t charge an origination fee.

You can use this company’s online interface to check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and variable APRs start at just 2.01% for graduates with excellent credit. LendKey loans also receive 9.3 out of 10 possible stars in recent reviews, meaning their customers are mostly happy with their decision to go with this company.

Save Thousands by Refinancing with LendKey

7. Wells Fargo

While Wells Fargo is mostly popular for their banking products, home mortgage products, and personal loans, this bank also offers student loan refinancing products. These loans let you consolidate student debts into a new loan with a low variable or fixed interest rate, and you can even score a discount for setting your loan up on autopay.

Terms for Wells Fargo loans are available anywhere from 5 to 20 years, meaning you can choose a repayment schedule and monthly payment that suits your needs. Wells Fargo also lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Get Started with Wells Fargo

8. PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union offers unique student loan products powered by Purefy. You might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate that could lead to enormous interest savings over time, and PenFed lets you choose a repayment term and monthly payment that fits with your budget and lifestyle.

You can apply for student loan refinancing on your own, but PenFed Credit Union also allows cosigners. Low fixed interest rates start at just 3.48% APR, and you can check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Learn More about PenFed Credit Union

What To Look For When Refinancing

If you decide you want to refinance your student loans, you’ll be happy to know the refinancing market is more robust than ever. A variety of lenders offer insanely attractive loan options for those who can qualify, although you should know that student loan companies tend to be very finicky about your credit score. Some also won’t let you refinance if you didn’t graduate from college, or even if you graduated from an “unapproved” school.

While you should be aware of any lender-specific eligibility requirements before you apply with any student loan company, there are plenty of other factors to look out for. Here’s everything you should look for in a student loan refinancing company before you decide to trust them with your loans.

Low Interest Rate

Obviously, the main reason you’re probably thinking of refinancing your loans is the potential to save money on interest. Lenders who offer the lowest rates available today can potentially help you save more, although it’s important to consider that you may not qualify for the lowest rates available if you don’t have excellent credit.

Cosigner Requirements

Also consider that most lenders will offer better rates and loan terms if you have a cosigner with better credit than you have. This is especially true if your credit isn’t great, so make sure to ask family members if they’re willing to cosign on your new student loan if you hope to get the best rate. Just remember that your cosigner will be jointly liable for repayment, meaning you could quickly damage your relationship if you default on your loan and leave them holding the bag.

Low Fees or No Fees

Student loans are like any other loan in the fact that some charge higher fees or more fees than others. Since many student loans come with an application fee or an origination fee, you’ll want to look for lenders that don’t charge these fees. Also check for hidden fees like prepayment penalties.

Discounts Available

Some student loan companies let you qualify for discounts, the most popular of which is a discount for using autopay. If you’re able and willing to set up automatic payments on your credit card, you could save .25% or .50% off your interest rate depending on the lender you go with.

Rate Check Option

Many of the top student loan refinancing companies on this list make it possible to check your interest rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This is a huge benefit since knowing your rate can help you figure out if refinancing is even worth it before you take the time to fill out a full loan application.

Flexible Repayment Plan

Also make sure any lender you go with offers some flexibility in your repayment plan and your monthly payment. You’ll want to make sure refinancing aligns with your long-term financial goals and your monthly budget, and it’s crucial to choose a new loan with a monthly payment you can live with.

Most lenders in this space offer repayment timelines of up to 20 years, which means you could spread your payments over several decades to get a monthly payment that makes sense with your income. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll pay more interest over the life of your loan when you take a long time to pay it off, so you may want to consider prioritizing a faster payment plan.

The Bottom Line

Student loan refinancing may not sound like a lot of fun. However, taking the time to consider all your loan options could easily save you thousands of dollars. This is especially true if you have a lot of debt at a high interest rate. By consolidating all your student loans into a new one with a lower APR, you could make loan repayment easier with a single payment and save a ton of money that would otherwise go to straight to interest without helping you pay off your loans.

The first step of the loan process is the hardest, however, and that’s choosing a student loan refinancing company that you trust. The lenders on this list are highly rated, but they also offer some of the best loan products on the market today.

  • Work with College Ave, our top pick, to refinance your student loan.

Start your search here and you’re bound to wind up with a student loan you can live with. At the very least, you’ll have a better idea of the loans that are available and how much you might save if you decide to refinance later on.

The post The Best Student Loan Companies For Refinancing appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

Source: goodfinancialcents.com

Repossession Credit Scores: What You Need to Know

One of the harsh truths of secured loans is that your asset can be repossessed if you fail to make the payments. In the words of the FTC, “your consumer rights may be limited” if you miss your monthly payments, and when that happens, both your financial situation and your bank balance will take a hit.

On this guide, we’ll look at what can happen when you fall behind on your car payments, and how much damage it can do to your credit score.

What is a Car Repossession?

An auto loan is a loan acquired for the sole purpose of purchasing a car. The lender covers the cost of the car, you get the vehicle you want, and in return you pay a fixed monthly sum until the loan balance is repaid.

If you fail to make to make a payment or you’re late, the lender may assume possession of your car and sell it to offset the losses. At the same time, they will report your missed and late payments to the main credit bureaus, and your credit score will take a hit. What’s more, if the sale is not enough to cover the remainder of the debt, you may be asked to pay the residual balance.

The same process applies to a title loan, whereby your car is used as collateral for a loan but isn’t actually the purpose of the loan.

To avoid repossession, you need to make your car payments on time every month. If you are late or make a partial payment, you may incur penalties and it’s possible that your credit score will suffer as well. If you continue to delay payment, the lender will seek to cover their costs as quickly and painlessly as possible.

How a Repossession Can Impact Your Credit Score

Car repossession can impact your credit history and credit score in several ways. Firstly, all missed and late car payments will be reported to the credit bureaus and will remain on your account for up to 7 years. They can also reduce your credit score. 

Secondly, if your car is repossessed on top of late payments, you could lose up to 100 points from your credit score, significantly reducing your chances of being accepted for a credit card, loan or mortgage in the future. 

And that’s not the end of it. If you have had your car for less than a couple of years, there’s a good chance the sale price will be much less than the loan balance. Car repossession doesn’t wipe the slate clean and could still leave you with a sizable issue. If you have a $10,000 balance and the car is sold for $5,000, you will owe $5,000 on the loan and the lender may also hit you with towing charges.

Don’t assume that the car is worth more than the value of the loan and that everything will be okay. The lender isn’t selling it direct; they won’t get the best price. Repossessed vehicles are sold cheaply, often for much less than their value, and in most cases, a balance remains. 

Lenders may be lenient with this balance as it’s not secured, so their options are limited. However, they can also file a judgment or sell it to a collection agency, at which point your problems increase and your credit score drops even further.

How Does a Repo Take Place?

If you have a substantial credit card debt and miss a payment, your creditor will typically take it easy on you. They can’t legally report the missed payment until at least 30-days have passed and most creditors won’t sell the account to a collection agency until it is at least 180-days overdue.

This leads many borrowers into a false sense of security, believing that an auto loan lender will be just as forgiving. But this is simply not true. Some lenders will repo your car just 90-days after your last payment, others will do it after 60 days. They don’t make as many allowances because they don’t need to—they can simply seize your asset, get most of the money back, and then chase the rest as needed.

Most repossessions happen quickly and with little warning. The lender will contact you beforehand and request that you pay what you owe, but the actual repo process doesn’t work quite like what you may have seen on TV. 

They’re not allowed to break down your door or threaten you; they’re not allowed to use force. And, most of the time, they don’t need to. If they see your car, they will load it onto their truck and disappear. They’re so used to this process that they can typically do it in less than 60-seconds.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re at home or at work—you just lost your ride.

What Can You Do Before a Repo Hits Your Credit Score?

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the repo process and escape the damage. You just need to act quickly and don’t bury your head in the sand, as many borrowers do.

Request a Deferment

An auto loan lender won’t waste as much time as a creditor, simply because they don’t need to. However, they still understand that they won’t get top dollar for the car and are generally happy to make a few allowances if it means you have more chance of meeting your payments.

If you sense that your financial situation is on the decline, contact your lender and request a deferment. This should be done as soon as possible, preferably before you miss a payment.

A deferment buys you a little extra time, allowing you to take the next month or two off and adding these payments onto the end of the term. The FTC recommends that you get any agreement in writing, just in case they renege on their promise.

Refinance

One of the best ways to avoid car repossession, is to refinance your loan and secure more favorable terms. The balance may increase, and you’ll likely find yourself paying more interest over the long-term, but in the short-term, you’ll have smaller monthly payments to contend with and this makes the loan more manageable.

You will need a good credit score for this to work (although there are some bad credit lenders) but it will allow you to tweak the terms in your favor and potentially improve your credit situation.

Sell the Car Yourself

Desperate times call for desperate measures; if you’re on the brink of facing repossession, you should consider selling the car yourself. You’ll likely get more than your lender would and you can use this to clear the balance. 

Before you sell, calculate how much is left and make sure the sale will cover it. If not, you will need to find the additional funds yourself, preferably without acquiring additional debt. Ask friends or family members if they can help you out.

How Long a Repo Can Affect Your Credit Score

The damage caused by a repossession can remain on your credit score for 7 years, causing some financial difficulty. However, the damage will lessen over time and within three or four years it will be negligible at best.

Derogatory marks cease to have an impact on your credit score a long time before it disappears off your credit report, and it’s the same for late payments and repossessions.

Still, that doesn’t mean you should take things lightly. The lender can make life very difficult for you if you don’t meet your payments every month and don’t work with them to find a solution.

What About Voluntary Repossession?

If you’re missing payments because you’ve lost your job or suffered a major change in your financial circumstances, it may be time to consider voluntary repossession, in which case there are no missed payments and you don’t need to worry about repo men knocking on your door or coming to your workplace.

With voluntary repossession, the borrower contacts the lender, informs them they can no longer afford the payments, and arranges a time and a place to return the car. However, while this is a better option, it can do similar damage to the borrower’s credit score as a voluntary repossession, like a traditional repossession, is still a defaulted loan.

Missed payments aside, the only difference concerns how the repossession shows on the borrower’s credit report. Voluntary repossession will look better to a creditor who manually scans the report, but the majority of lenders run automatic checks and won’t notice a difference.

Summary: Act Quickly

If you have student loan, credit card, and other unsecured debt, a repo could reduce your chances of a successful debt payoff and potentially prevent you from getting a mortgage. But it’s not the end of the world. You can get a deferment, refinance or reinstate the loan, and even if the worst does happen, it may only take a year or so to get back on track after you fix your financial woes.

Repossession Credit Scores: What You Need to Know is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

[Update] Amex Benefits Workshop – Which Merchants Code For Streaming, Wireless, Shipping Credits? (Sortable Table)

Update 2/3/21: There are two AmEx deals on the Wireless category, and the data points within this table should work for those offers as well:

  • American Express Adds Wireless Credit To Delta, Hilton & Marriott Business Cards ($10-$15 Monthly Credit)
  • Amex Offers (Business Platinum/Gold): Get 4x Bonus Membership Rewards On Wireless, Shipping, Advertising, Gas and Office Supply

(Table last updated on 10/1/20 at 12:40pm ET. If the table isn’t displaying properly, try incognito or CTRL+Shift+R.)

Introducing Benefits Workshop for the new American Express statement credit offers in the Streaming, Wireless, and Shipping categories. There are many merchants mentioned directly by Amex (which we’ve also included in the table below), yet most will have to be dealt with by trial-and-error to ensure that a given merchants is categorized properly to be eligible for the credit.

All the data points below are from DoC comments and from the Reddit thread that deals with this. We figured it’s easier for people to find things in a consolidated place in table form with easy search.

  • American Express personal Platinum card (all versions) get a $20 monthly Streaming credit and a $20 monthly Wireless credit from May through December 2020.
  • American Express business Platinum card gets a $20 monthly Wireless credit and a $20 monthly Shipping credit from May through December 2020. (There’s also the $200 Dell credit, but that one is basically straight-forward and don’t really discuss that in the table below.)
  • American Express personal Green card gets a $10 monthly Wireless credit from May through December 2020. 
  • Also bear in mind that these credit can be used in multiple smaller transaction, e.g. a $8 charge and a $12 charge will both be credited.

I hope to expand this table over time as more data points come in – please contribute successes and failures in the comments below! I’ll also add these data points to our Payments Workshop as well.

 

Merchant Tag Workshop Last Updated Source
Acorn TV (RLJ Entertainment) Streaming Does not credit automatically 2020-07-02 Source
Amazon balance reload Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Amazon gift card Streaming Does not work (but you can buy Kindle gifting to get credit) 2020-05-31 Source
Amazon HP Instant Ink eCode Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
Amazon movie rental Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Amazon Music Unlimited Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Amazon Prime subscription (student) Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Amazon Prime Video (movie purchase) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Amazon Prime Video (tv show purchase) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Apple app subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple book purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-12 Source
Apple iCloud storage Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Apple ID account load (via app store) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Apple ID load Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple Music Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple Music 3-month subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Apple TV+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T business wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T home phone service Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T in-store purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
AT&T internet UVERSE payment Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
AT&T Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T payment on app Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T Prepaid Wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
AT&T TV Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T U-verse Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
AT&T U-Verse Wireless Works 2020-10-01 Source
AT&T wireless & internet bundle Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
AT&T wireless bundle with Directv/etc online payment without login Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
AT&T wireless/internet bundle Wireless Does not work 2020-05-11
Audible Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Audible audiobook purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Audible monthly subscription fee Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Boost Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
CBS All Access Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Consumer Cellular manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Cricket wireless bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Cricket wireless bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Criterion Channel subscription (annual) Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
Crunchyroll premium Streaming Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
Dell.com (xbox gc) Dell Works 2020-05-11 Source
Disney plus bundle (Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Disney+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
eBay shipping Shipping Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
ESPN+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
FandangoNow Video Rental Streaming Does not work 2020-07-02 Source
FedEx Office store purchase Shipping Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
FedEx shipping at FedEx Office Shipping Works 2020-05-17 Source
FedEx store purchase Shipping Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Frontier Internet/Ziply Fiber bill Wireless Does not work 2020-05-24 Source
Fubo TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Good2Go mobile Wireless Does not credit automatically 2020-07-02 Source
Google domain renewal Streaming Works 2020-06-12 Source
google domains Streaming Works 2020-10-01 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Works as Streaming, does not work as Wireless 2020-05-08 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Sometimes works as Streaming, sometimes works as Wireless 2020-05-24 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Does not work for either category 2020-05-24 Source
Google Fi Wireless Works (as wireless) 2020-05-27 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Works as Wireless (YMMV) 2020-06-12 Source
Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Depends on how they code it 2020-07-02 Source
Google Fiber bill Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
Google Fiber monthly bill Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
Google Fiber reload Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Google music-album purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
Google nest subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Google Play in-app purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Google Play Music Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Google play reload Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Google Play Store – app purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Google Storage Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Google storage Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
Google Voice load Streaming Works 2020-07-02 Source
Google Voice number unblock fee Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
Google Voice recharge Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
H2O Wireless reload (pay as you go) Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
HBO Max Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
HBO Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Hulu Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
iCloud storage fee (99c) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
iHeartRadio Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Kindle Book purchases (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Kindle eBook gifting purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
Kindle subscription auto-renewal (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
Kindle Unlimited (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Kindle Unlimited gift membership Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
Luminary Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Metro by T-Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-12 Source
Mint Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Mint Mobile Wireless Stopped working 2020-08-14 Source
Mint Mobile Wireless Working again 2020-10-01 Source
Mint mobile load Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Mint Mobile Uproam reload Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
MLB.TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
NBA League Pass Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Netflix Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Netflix DVD Plan Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
Netflix paid in foreign currency Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
netflix physical dvd plan Streaming ? 2020-05-08 Source
NHL.TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
NordVPN subscription Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
OnStar Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Optimum Online Wireless Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
PackageBoss Shipping Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Pandora Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Pandora Plus Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Philo subscription Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
PhotoStamps.com Shipping Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
pirateship Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
Pitney Bowes postage meter Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
Postal Annex Shipping Did not post automatically 2020-10-01 Source
Pottery Barn Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
Prime Video Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Pure Talk USA Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Red Pocket Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Republic Wireless bill payment Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
sappclub.com Shipping Works 2020-10-01 Source
Shipping label purchased via PayPal Shipping Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
Showtime Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Shudder Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
Siriusxm Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
SiriusXM gift card purchase Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sling TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sling TV Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Soundcloud Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Spectrum internet Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Spectrum Mobile bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Spotify Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Spotify (edu subscription) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Spotify Family Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
Spotify Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Sprint Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sprint auto-pay Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Sprint bill auto-pay Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Sprint bill manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
Stitcher Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Straight Talk Cell Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Subscription via Apple Pay Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
T-mobile (direct, postpaid) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile Apple Pay (T-Mobile Payments) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile autopay Wireless Works 2020-05-12 Source
T-Mobile bill payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile equipment payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-mobile magenta Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
T-Mobile manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile paid via Apple Pay Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile Prepaid Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
T-Mobile store purchase (accessories) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Tello.com Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
Teltik Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Tidal Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
Ting Wireless Conflicting data points if it works 2020-06-02 Source
Ting autopay Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
Total wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Tracfone Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Tracfone airtime purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Twigby Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
Twitch Streaming Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Ua mobile family plan Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
UaMobile load Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
UPS MyChoice Shipping Works 2020-05-08 Source
UPS Store Shipping Works 2020-06-12 Source
UPS Store notary service Shipping Works 2020-08-14 Source
UPS Store shipping cost in-store Shipping Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
ups.com shipping purchase Shipping Works 2020-07-02 Source
US Mobile Wireless Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
USPS Change of Address fee Shipping Works 2020-07-02 Source
USPS Gift shop Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
USPS in-store stamps purchase Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
USPS Passport acceptance fee Shipping Works 2020-08-14 Source
USPS PO Box renewal Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
USPS self-service kiosk Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
USPS shipping label purchase Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
USPS stamps purchased online Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Verizon accessory purchase online Wireless Works 2020-10-01 Source
Verizon airpods pro purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon cell phone purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
Verizon Fios Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
Verizon Fios Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
Verizon Fios Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon fios (manual payment) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon in-Store physical gift card purchased Wireless Works 2020-05-31 Source
Verizon monthly bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon online (accessory purchase) Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
Verizon online accessories Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
Verizon Online Accessory Purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Verizon Online Accessory Purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works (YMMV) 2020-05-11 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Does not work (YMMV) 2020-05-13 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Does not work (YMMV) 2020-05-17 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works when checking out as guest (maybe?) 2020-05-19 Source
Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works 2020-05-30 Source
Verizon shop purchase Wireless split purchase between cards via chat 2020-05-24 Source
Verizon Wireless partial bill payment Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
Viki.com via Apple Pay Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
Vimeo Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
Visible Apple Pay payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Visible Wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
VRV subscription (direct payment) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
VRV subscription (direct payment) Streaming Does not work 2020-07-02 Source
Vudu purchase Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
Xfinity Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
Xfinity Mobile fractional payment by calling in Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
YouTube Music Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
YouTube Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
YouTube TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
Youtube TV show purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source

 

You can sort this in various ways:

  • Search a given merchant, e.g. usps or t-mobile.
  • Get a list of all Streaming or Wireless or Shipping data points by searching for that key word, e.g. streaming.
  • Toggle the date to find newly added data points.
  • Default setting sorts in alphabetical order.
  • You can update how many items you want to show at the top-left of the table. By default it shows 10.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Prepare for Holiday Shopping with These Timely Credit Tips

According to a YouGov Parent Survey in 2019, a quarter of parents entered the 2019 holiday shopping seasonstill paying down debt related to 2018 holiday spending. Deloitte numbers put holidayretail salesgrowth in 2019 at 4.1% year-over-year. In 2020, Deloitte predicts growth of between 1% and 1.5% year-over-year for the holiday season.

It might be that some people no longer want to pay for holiday gifts, decorations and food a year down the road. But it’s also true that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit consumerwallets and some people might be cutting back this year.

That doesn’t mean that people aren’t shopping. Google and other thought leaders note that changes to shopping habits and the need for social distancing and other measures will likely spread the holiday shopping season out longer. Shoppers are also likely to turn to online shopping.

With a ton of shopping opportunities, a longer holiday shopping season and pent-up pandemic energy, it might be easy to overspend and create debt you’ll deal with into the future. Follow these tips to prepare for holiday shopping so you can protect your financial standing, save money and make the most of the resources you have this season.

1. Check your credit scores

Begin by checking your credit scores and reports. They tell you where you stand if you want to apply for credit. They also give you a baseline of where you are so you know if your score goes up or down later with no explanation.

An unexplained drop in your credit score can be a sign your financial information is compromised. Unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for many scammers. Using a service, such as ExtraCredit’s Track It feature to keep tabs on 28 of your FICO scores, helps you know when you need to act to protect your credit.

2. Ask for a credit limit increase

If you have existing credit cards and you’re a cardholder in good standing, the months prior to the holidays can be a good time to ask for a credit limit increase. You’re not asking so you can spend more-it’s typically advisable to keep spending in line with your budget no matter how much credit you have.

You’re asking for a higher limit so you can spend what you already planned to without hurting your credit utilization. Credit utilization is the second-most important factor in determining your credit score-second only to payment history. It’s the ratio between your credit limit and how much of that credit you have used.

If you have a card with a limit of $1,000 and you spend $300, that’s a utilization rate of 30%. But if you get approved for a credit limit of $2,000 and you spend $300, that’s a utilization rate of only 15%, which is better for your score.

3. Apply for a credit cardwith a 0% APR introductory offer

Those with good or excellent credit might want to consider applying for a card with a 0% APR introductory offer. If you qualify for such a card, you typically have one or two years to pay off purchases made during the introductory period without accruing any interest.

This can be a way to finance your entire holiday without paying anything more for the privilege of doing so. However, it’s still important to maintain your budget and not overspend just because you won’t be paying the balance off until later. Otherwise, you make this season’s holiday festivities next season’s problem.

4. Pay down debt before-and after-the holidays

Speaking of last season’s debt: If you can pay it down before you start spending this season, that’s a great accomplishment. It also frees up your credit and your budget so you can better enjoy the current holiday season. If you’re paying $100 a month on your debt, that’s $100 a month that might go toward gifts or celebrations that you don’t have to put on a card this year.

If you do use credit to pay for the 2020 holidays, have a plan for paying it down as soon as possible. That’s especially true with 0% interest cards. The longer you wait, the greater the chance you’ll miss the introductory period and potentially be on the hook for a lot of interest expense.

5. Create a holiday spending budget

Whether you’re using cash or credit-or a mix of both-enter the 2020 holiday shopping season with a plan. Take an honest look at your personal budget. If you don’t have a budget, create one before you move forward. Then decide how much you can realistically spend during the holidays.

Consider which gifts you want to buy and which events you want to host or attend. You might not be able to do everything, and that’s OK. Be honest with yourself, your family and your friends about what you can afford to do with your time and money this year.

Then make a list and assign each item a monetary budget. That can include:

  • Gifts as a total
  • Gift extras, such as wrapping and tags
  • Shipping, both for receiving items you buy and for shipping gifts to others
  • Food and drinks
  • Travel
  • Decor
  • General festivities, such as tickets to holiday events

Once you assign a dollar amount to a category, stick to it. That’s a good idea even if you’re spending with credit.

6. Align budgeted spendingwith credit cardrewards

Once you know how much you want to spend, decide how best to spend it. If you’re using credit cards for the holidays, check your accounts to see if any offer cash back or rewards points. If they do, double-check which categories or stores you can shop in to earn the most points with each card.

For example, some travel rewards cards offer 6x points when you shop at supermarkets. You could use such a card to cover the food-and-drink portion of your holiday budget and reap the biggest rewards possible from that spending. You might also be able to maximize rewards when purchasing gift cards.

7. Guard your financial information and identity

As you enjoy holiday shopping, be on guard. Don’t use debit card PIN numbers unless you have to, and shield the keypad when you enter your information. Keep a close eye on your wallet or purse, and check your credit card statements regularly to ensure all charges are yours. You can also use ExtraCredit’s Guard It feature to help keep your identity and account information safe during and beyond the season.

Sign up for ExtraCredit today!

The post Prepare for Holiday Shopping with These Timely Credit Tips appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

Perch unveils impressive credit building app

Perch is a new mobile app available for iOS that can improve your credit score by incorporating your rent history and recurring subscriptions such as streaming services.

Currently, Perch is only available through the Apple Store. There are some similar offerings out there, but I think this one is better. It’s completely free and it reports to more credit bureaus.

Read more from our credit card experts.

Ask Ted a question.

Rent

Typically, your rental payment history does not appear on your credit reports. That’s a shame, because rent is the largest monthly expense for many households. It would be great if paying your rent on time helped you build your credit score.

There are some existing services that facilitate reporting your rent to the credit bureaus, but they typically charge fees. They can also get complicated, since many require your landlord to respond to the tracking company each month or mandate that they receive your payments through their platform). With Perch, you provide your lease details and grant read-only access to your bank account via Plaid’s secure API. That allows Perch to verify your payment history – without bugging your landlord or forcing you to change your payment method.

Even better, Perch can retroactively add up to 24 months of rental payment history to your credit reports with all three major bureaus. This could jumpstart your credit score in a big way. The company tells me their average customer improves their credit score between 60 and 160 points. And many who were previously unscorable instantly land between 670 and 690 – placing them in the “good credit” category. That’s incredible!

See related: How to pay rent with a credit card

Subscriptions 

Perch also has a novel approach to monitoring subscriptions. Users notify the company which recurring subscriptions they want to include, and Perch provides them with a virtual debit card loaded up to that pre-approved amount. The user pays Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Apple Music or another subscription service with that virtual card number. They then pay Perch back. Perch reports this virtual card payment activity as an additional tradeline on users’ credit reports (note that Perch currently reports subscriptions to Equifax and TransUnion; it plans to add Experian by July).

See related: I signed up for Experian Boost. This is what happened

I asked Perch founder and CEO Michael Broughton what happens if someone doesn’t pay them back – would that end up hurting their credit score? He said no. Perch really wants to help their users build credit, so it will not place a negative mark on a customer’s credit report in that situation – or even charge a late fee.

Instead, Perch relies on proactive measures such as cash flow underwriting and warnings if your account balance falls too low. If you don’t pay, they’ll eventually prevent you from making future purchases. Broughton explained that their liability is very limited because they pre-approve these virtual card purchases and the eligible subscription services tend to charge modest amounts. He assured me that no one can get away with buying $500 Nikes and skipping town.

About Perch

Broughton is a 21-year-old graduate of the University of Southern California. He was inspired to found Perch after he had difficulty securing a loan for a $10,000 tuition shortfall. One of seven children born into a military family, Broughton was the first member of his family to attend college. He’s now assisting others who wish to improve their financial lives. The company’s investors include heavy hitters such as Citi, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank and Y Combinator.

The market is huge. FICO reports that 79 million Americans have subprime credit and another 53 million can’t be scored because they lack a sufficient credit history. Broughton told me Perch’s initial sweet spot is 18-25 year-olds, but he also noted that many older adults could benefit, particularly immigrants and people rebuilding their credit after a misstep. He has big plans for expansion and believes Perch can benefit 100,000 people in 2021. The app formally launched in late January and is onboarding new customers in weekly batches.

See related: How to build credit

Broughton’s ultimate goal is to spread the gospel of financial literacy and credit building. He wants to help people obtain their first credit cards and other financial products. “We want to launch you into the credit world on a better foot,” he said. The way I see it, Perch is off to an excellent start.

Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at ted.rossman@creditcards.com and I’d be happy to help.

Source: creditcards.com

NBA Star Kyrie Irving Buys a House for George Floyd’s Family

Sarah Stier / Staff/Getty Images

The basketball star Kyrie Irving has bought George Floyd‘s family a house.

The Brooklyn Nets guard has been a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements. Floyd died on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, is “getting so much love from not just us, but from people all around the world who are showing support,” the former NBA player Stephen Jackson said on “The Rematch” podcast. Jackson and Floyd were childhood friends, and had remained close.

“I had a lot of my friends—Kyrie Irving bought them a house. Lil Wayne’s manager bought them a Mercedes-Benz. Barbra Streisand gave them stock in Disney.”

Irving’s publicist, Ashley Blackwood, confirmed to CNN that Irving had bought the home for Floyd’s family. She did not provide any additional details on the home or its location.

Irving “wanted to help George’s family, and I let him know that a house was what they needed at that time, and he made it happen in a heartbeat,” Jackson said in a statement obtained by CNN.

It’s not the first time Irving has become involved in a case of racial injustice. In July, he appeared in a TV special with the rapper Common, to seek action in the death of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, another unarmed Black person, died after police officers entered her Louisville, KY, home in the middle of the night. Three officers have been fired since September in relation to the shooting, but no one has been charged in her death.

The post NBA Star Kyrie Irving Buys a House for George Floyd’s Family appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington Lists Bright and Beautiful Venice Beach Home

Reality TV star Ty Pennington, known for changing people’s lives with his energetic personality on the original version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is now looking to cash in on his own home makeover. Pennington has just listed his house — a beautiful and bright 1927 Craftsman in Venice, Calif. — for $2,795,000.

Pennington put his home design expertise to good use and carefully restored the property earlier this year with the help of his trusted interior designer, Patrick Delanty. Delanty, also known to be Halle Berry’s designer, has long been working alongside Ty Pennington, serving as his design director for Extreme Makeover and running his on-air design segments, most notably his presence on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Rachel Ray Show, NBC’s Nightline and Good Morning America.

Just like its reality TV star owner, the home is bright, cheerful and quirky, with colorful interiors exuding creativity and style. The property is listed by Patrice Meepos of Compass.

inside ty pennington's bright home in venice, california
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 

Tucked away on a one-way street near the beach, Venice Boardwalk, canals and Abbot Kinney’s hot spots, the original 1927 dwelling has 3 beds, 3 baths, and a sizable living room with decorative fireplace, along with a sunken family room with large windows overlooking a newly landscaped, private back yard with koi pond.

inside Ty Pennington's house in Venice, CA
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
living room in Ty Pennington's house in Venice, CA
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
ty pennington bedroom
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
sunken living room in ty pennington's house
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
inside Ty Pennington's house in Venice, CA.
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 

The ground level hosts the kitchen, laundry room, and bedroom with direct backyard access, as well as a full bath. On the upper level, there’s a master retreat and a second bedroom. 

Ty Pennington added quite a few special touches to the 2,102-square-foot home, including bamboo flooring, baths adorned in vintage-inspired ceramic tile, a master bath sporting a standalone shower and an antique cast-iron freestanding tub, kitchen with concrete countertops and a wraparound, porcelain-tiled porch. There’s also a beautiful backyard that looks like a great place to entertain guests.

ty pennington kitchen
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
ty pennington kitchen island
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
ty pennington backyard
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 
ty pennington backyard entertaining area
Ty Pennington’s house in Venice, CA. Image credit: Anthony Barcelo 

While Ty Pennington did not return to host HGTV’s 2020 version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which is hosted by Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson), you can catch the two time Emmy award winner in his other home improvement series, Trading Spaces — which recently restarted airing after a 10-year hiatus.

You can also get more tips from the home design expert from his latest book, Good Design Can Change Your Life, which is an intimate look at Ty’s design inspirations and is full of décor advice and tips. While we haven’t yet had the chance to pick up the book ourselves, according to his website the book is part reference, and part behind-the-scenes from Ty’s own home remodeling, which means the Venice home is already a bookshelf hit.

More beautiful celebrity homes

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Wayne Gretzky is Selling his $22.9M California Home Designed by ‘The Megamansion King’
Chrissy Teigen & John Legend Buy $17.5M Beverly Hills Mansion After Cashing Big on Previous Home
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The post Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington Lists Bright and Beautiful Venice Beach Home appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.

Source: fancypantshomes.com