On September 7, 2017, news broke that a data breach occurred at Equifax. Equifax is one of the three credit reporting agencies that house consumers’ personal information.
Ever since the Equifax hack was announced on September 7, 2017, the phrase “be vigilant” has been used with little or no explanation about how to actually do this. According to online dictionaries, vigilant means “being on the lookout for danger” or “being keenly watchful and ever alert.”
A credit score is an assessment of your creditworthiness. Lenders use the credit score to determine whether or not to lend to you, what the interest rate will be on the loan and other terms that impact the cost of credit for the consumer.
A credit report contains information compiled by a credit bureau from merchants, utility companies, banks, court records, and creditors about your payment history. The information is used to approve credit applications, job applications, insurance policies, and rental housing.
Credit experts recommend that consumers freeze their credit to reduce their risk of becoming an identity theft victim. This has to be done individually with each of the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), plus some experts also recommend doing a freeze with a lesser-known credit reporting agency called Innovis to “cover all the bases.”
Predatory lending is an action that targets consumers who are in a vulnerable financial situation in which money is needed quickly to take care of a financial emergency. Alternative financial services (AFS) are the financial products used by predatory lenders.
With each passing day, the demands on our time and financial resources increase causing us to do more in less time or spend more money on fewer items. When this situation occurs, it is important to realign our wants and needs with our values.
When a family emergency or disaster occurs, having quick access to important financial documents is essential. These documents include banking information, insurance cards and policies, wills and power of attorney documents, household inventory, and birth and marriage records. This article will address what are the important financial records, where to keep financial records secure, how long to keep records, and how to create a Grab and Go box.
Having a health insurance plan does not mean that all medical expenses are covered. Health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible savings accounts (FSA) are designed to help consumers budget for deductibles, co-pays, prescription costs, plan out-of-pocket costs, and other unexpected medical expenses. In addition to helping a consumer manage planned and unexpected medical expense, both HSAs and FSAs lower an individual’s taxable income, which in turn reduces the amount of annual taxes paid to the IRS.
Since people are living longer than ever, retirement savings need to last longer and work harder. It is more important than ever to make smart financial decisions. There are four standard sources of retirement income, Social Security, retirement plans and/or employer sponsored pensions, investment income, and earned income from part time employment.