Medical debt can be crushing: 43 million Americans have overdue medical debt on their credit reports. If you have health insurance, the deductibles can be high: For families with a bronze health plan, the average deductible is $10,545. Given that 62 percent of Americans do not have enough money saved to handle a $500 emergency, medical debt can quickly become a big problem. The problem is even worse for the 12.9 percent of people who do not have health insurance. If you enter an emergency room without insurance, you are going to be charged obscenely high rates. It is not uncommon for people to leave the hospital with $100,000 or more in medical bills. If you find yourself in a medical emergency, here are four things to consider to help manage the situation.
1. Try to Reduce the Bill When It First Arrives
If a big hospital bill arrives that you cannot afford, you should immediately try to negotiate the rate down. Nonprofit hospitals are required to offer financial assistance programs. But even for-profit hospitals are often willing to agree to a payment plan. But you need to talk to the
This week’s question is about credit monitoring and ID theft prevention, something many Americans pay for monthly. Even if you don’t use one of these services, you’ve almost certainly seen the ads. Here’s the query:
“My question is: I now pay $9.95 each month to Tru-Credit, which purchases access to my credit report and credit score any time I want. In addition, I receive an email weekly, outlining any “activity” (or lack thereof) in my credit account. “Fraud Alert” is included in the $9.95 cost. I would appreciate your opinion on this service and it’s cost. Thanks for the very helpful, down to earth, Money Talk News!!! – Jim”
Thanks for the kind words, Jim! And for the great question. Here’s your answer.
Converting Fear Into Fees
They say sex sells, and I’m sure they’re right. But I doubt it outsells fear. From burglar alarms to bomb shelters, Americans shell out billions annually to protect against all manner of evil: some real, much greatly exaggerated. But wherever fear can be churned up, you can bet there’s someone not far behind making a buck. Such is the case with credit monitoring.
Credit monitoring is a
What do you do when you and your spouse can’t agree on how to spend your money? The best answer, of course, is that you talk about it until you do agree. But is that what you really do?
As Bethany Palmer, who, with husband Scott, wrote First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple’s Guide to Financial Communication, recently told me, “Money touches each and every part of our lives — where we go to school, what we eat, where we work, how we live. You have to make sure you’re talking about money.”
But that doesn’t mean communicating is easy, and after writing a few WalletPop posts about managing money with your spouse, I thought it might be a good idea to find an expert or two who could offer advice to spouses who can’t quite get on the same page when it comes to their finances. Here are some of their top tips:
Talk about your finances regularly. At least once a month, says Scott Palmer, you should sit down and go over the finances with each other. Thanks to the ease of parting with our money — ATM
Banks and other financial institutes are offering a wide variety of options to transfer your funds. But if you need to transfer your funds quickly, you may not have time to fill in the account with all the details required, or even afford a delay in the deposit, due to clearance protocols. So what the different money transfer services that are available? Let us take a look at a few favourable ones that suit your needs.
Wire services is one of the most popular money transfer services that is used to transfer funds. It can be used to transfer funds from one bank account to another bank account or even to another financial institute account. All the sender needs to do is create a wire transfer from his bank or financial institute to the recipient’s bank or other financial account. This can be done through a wire transfer code and location code for the cash office, wherein the receiver can pick up the funds.
Another popular choice of money transfer services is the bank drafts special. It is normally used for payments in foreign countries. In order to transmit the funds, the bank draft must be issued by the bank
Does the subject of credit make your stomach turn? Many people live in fear of trying to tackle the problem of their credit. The rationale and factors that go into calculating a credit score seem like a mysterious enigma that isn’t worth trying to understand. It’s true that the particular formulas for calculating a credit score aren’t public knowledge. Reporting agencies use their own variations on the scoring formula, and they’re allowed to keep them under wraps as trade secrets. Luckily, we don’t need to know the exact formulas to understand in general what helps — and more importantly — what hurtsyour credit score.
Because this three-digit number can determine whether you get a much-needed house or car, a good credit score can be vitally important. Let’s look over the general factors that go into calculating your score:
- Payment history: whether you have a reliable history of paying your bills on time
- Debt: how much debt you have yet to pay off right now
- Age of your accounts: how long you’ve had credit
- New accounts: how many new accounts you’ve opened recently and the number of inquires on your report
- Types of credit: the variety of accounts you have
Invest what you can stand to lose
Intraday trading conveys more hazard than putting resources into stocks. Contribute just the sum that you can bear to lose. A sudden development can wipe out your whole interest in almost no time. In January 2009, the Satyam Computer scrip fell more than 80% from Rs 188 to Rs 31 in one day. On the off chance that it is an utilized position, you could lose more than you contributed.
Choose highly liquid shares
Informal investors must square their positions toward the end of the exchanging session. This is simple on the off chance that you are exchanging extensive top, file based stocks, which are exceptionally fluid and get exchanged substantial volumes consistently. Try not to fiddle with mid-top and little top shares, where the exchanged volumes are not huge. You could wind up holding shares that have no purchasers toward the day’s end.
Trade only in 2-3 scripts at a time
It’s judicious to expand your portfolio when you are putting resources into stocks, however with regards to day exchanging, keep yourself to only 1-2 stocks. You can have up to 8-10 vast top, record construct stocks in light of your watch list, however don’t exchange more
As climate changes become impossible to dismiss, how does the mainstream investor community respond? Are financial decisions taking full account of risks and opportunities related to climate change, or is the topic still virtually ignored in financial decision-making?
The environmental effects of climate change in our modern world are increasingly convincing, and global leaders will gather soon in a major Summit to try to address the problem. As climate changes become impossible to dismiss, how does the mainstream investor community respond? Are financial decisions taking full account of risks and opportunities related to climate change, or is the topic still virtually ignored in financial decision-making? Paula DiPerna sets out new trends and momentum to answer these questions in her article, published in the current issue ofEnvironment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, “Wall Street Wakes Up: Sustainable Investment and Finance Going Mainstream.”
The forthcoming Climate Summit in Paris in December comes after many years of global negotiations. During the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Heads of States committed their nations to improving environmental conditions and battling climate change. The result? DiPerna writes, “Some progress has been made, of course, but
What a superb quote to explain the vitality of an attorney! It is true that lawyers are not liked too much, but they are the only ones who take us out of complex legal matters. There are times when you find yourself in the middle of a legal issue that seems quite complicated. No matter how much you try, what efforts you make, which law books you read, the kind of assistance you get from a lawyer is incomparable. So, do not forget to rely upon an attorney the next time you get into a legal trouble.
How to stop repossession of vehicle? Is this question haunting you day and night? If that is the case, there is no need to worry as you are already aware of the absolute solution. Do not think twice before consulting a renowned attorney near your place. Consulting a legal expert can help you by preventing the vehicle repossession, reducing the payment, and eliminating loan deficiency debt in case you can no longer afford the vehicle payments. Just look online for a leading law firm and consult an experienced and qualified attorney to know all about
It seems that everywhere we turn, people are getting married. However, the flip side is that there seems to be one divorce for every new set of nuptials. It is an unfortunate statistic that almost half of all marriages end in divorce within the first seven years of wedded bliss (or lack thereof). There is much speculation about the leading cause of divorce, including infidelity, the lack of compatibility and frequent fighting about conflicting parenting styles after having children – however, these common causes are not the first and foremost reason. Did you know that the number one reason people get divorced (in America at least) is due to financial issues?
More specifically, the problem lies in accrued debt that cannot be properly managed, that mounts and causes one or both spouses to buckle under the pressure of debt collectors calling at all hours, and sometimes, not being able to make ends meet. Throw in one of the spouses racking up loan or credit card debt behind the other’s back, and you have a recipe that leads straight for the divorce courts.
So how can newlyweds keep their marriages alive for better or
Our initial conversation will have one goal: to learn about your practice, your clients, and your requirements in a new broker dealer. We will start with our list of over 70 quality broker dealers. We will then create a short list of broker dealers to recommend for your consideration. Based on your initial feedback, we will then have initial, confidential conversations with these firms to see if there may be a good fit. Then next step is to arrange phone conversations with these broker dealers. We then narrow the list down to a hand full of firms and set up face to face meetings either at the home office or near the candidate’s location, whatever is most convenient for the candidate. With the firms that are of most interest, we will work with the firms to get competitive offers together and present them to the candidate.
Once the decision is made on which firm to go with, we get you engaged with that firm’s transition team, to ensure a smooth transition. Our goal is to make this transition as painless as possible. In some cases, the broker dealer will place people in your office to assist you
Companies in order to expand their business, at times, sell their products and services on credit to their clients. With transactions made on credit, there is a potential risk of non-payments and delays in payments from the client side. In such situations, it becomes difficult for the companies to run their business continuously as they need continuous finansiering and cash flow for working capital. In worst cases companies have even registered bankruptcies because of lack of working capital to continue their work.
There are many ways in which companies can manage their credits systematically. Credit insurance and management companies offer a variety of solutions that help in finansiering the companies with receivables and sustain their businesses. Following are some of the ways:
- Credit Insurance: Credit insurance is very important for businesses. The insurance companies provide cover against the unpaid invoices of the businesses. The cover obtained works as working capital and covers for the account receivables. This helps companies to keep running their business. The companies can also plan to expand their business further without having to fear about the losses and debt risks. Credit
Advantages of Using an Online Payment Service
When your business has a website through which you sell your products or services, you stand to lose a considerable percentage of business when you do not accept payments online. Shoppers have become used to buying and paying for purchases online as well as receiving them immediately. They are more confident with their online purchases due to the security features available nowadays like fraud protection and card number encryption.
The primary motivation of customers to shop online is the instant gratification they get. With an online payment scheme, they are able to instantly pay for products they like and feel confident that they will receive their orders right away. When they mail their payment, they have to wait for the shop to receive it and for the money to clear, resulting to a longer waiting period. Due to such delays, they are likely to look for merchants that accept payments online.
Whenever customers pay for their purchased products online, their payment method is allowed then the money is instantly deposited in the business account. This removes financial risks on the part of
It’s a question we’ve all heard when shopping: “Credit or debit?” It seems straightforward, just the cashier asking you what type of payment card you’re using, but there’s actually a lot more history to that question than you might think.
Debit and credit transactions are processed differently: Here’s how MasterCard (MA) explained it in an emailed statement to Credit.com: “When you use a debit card and your PIN (personal identification number), the transaction is completed in real time, also known as an online transaction — you authorize the purchase with your PIN and the money is immediately transferred from your bank account to the merchant. With a credit card, or using a debit card as credit, it’s an offline transaction. The funds for offline transactions are deducted after the merchant settles the purchase with the credit card processor and typically take two-three days to be reflected in your account balance.”
Issuers used to charge merchants different fees for accepting credit cards than for accepting debit card transactions with a PIN. Before the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed, Sen. Dick Durbin added a provision, now called the Durbin amendment, that restricted interchange fees to 12 cents
Savvy consumers know that credit card debt is something to banish from your financial home if you can. But just how bad is your debt situation compared to others’?
Getting a definitive answer can be a challenge. Sources have different ways of gathering and looking at “average” credit card balances. For instance, MagnifyMoney.com recently released survey data that showed that 42.4 percent of Americans carry credit card debt:
- $10,902: Average balance for those with credit card debt.
- $8,864: Average credit card balance for millennials.
- $12,026: Average credit card balance for Generation X.
Those numbers, while based on a survey of 1,435 people in April, are not far off from numbers reported by NerdWallet.com that are based on government data, including Federal Reserve statistics.
- $7,087: Average household credit card debt.
- $15,191: Average balance for households that have any credit card debt.
In NerdWallet’s analysis, households with zero credit card debt skew the overall average lower, and households with debt skew higher because of a relatively small number of households with extremely high credit card balances.
In 2013, CreditCards.com studied average credit card debt with different variables. For example:
- $5,047: Average balance per American adult with a credit card.
- $2,720: Average
Mullainathan got 300 actors to pose as prospective clients seeking investment advice from financial planners. They had four distinct objectives. One group pretended to be invested in index funds, another in cash, another said they were seeking the next hot market sector and the final group said they held a third of their portfolio in company stock.
The results of their interviews were remarkably consistent. The financial planners verified these clients’ biases and told them what they wanted to hear. For investors who rely on the “independent” advice of financial planners, this is disturbing news, because a good financial planner should bring objectivity to the process. Here’s my six-point litmus test for financial planners.
- They work on a fee-only basis. Financial planners cannot provide unbiased advice if they have a financial incentive to steer you toward buying some financial products and discourage you from purchasing others. You should not retain a financial planner who won’t agree to either an hourly or fixed project fee. Typically, the fee is determined as a percentage of assets under management. Investors should also be wary of paying commissions, including trading commissions. This arrangement encourages trading, which increases costs. High costs are the
There are few things more disappointing or infuriating than lending money to someone who doesn’t pay you back. Besides the financial setback, you are forced to deal with the emotional wreckage of being taken advantage of by someone you trusted. Also, you are forced to take actions that you’d prefer not to do.
If someone puts you in this uncomfortable position, don’t be troubled. There are five steps you can take to significantly increase your chances of getting every dime back from the deadbeat.
1. Remember, It’s Just Business
The person you lent money to will try desperately to make this a personal issue. He or she will whine about losing a job, running into unforeseen financial trouble or — when all else fails — blaming you.
The person who welched on the debt will continue to make this a personal issue as long as possible. Fiddlesticks. Don’t fall for it and don’t even participate in any conversation that is personal in nature with respect to this unpaid debt.
Your job is to focus squarely on the business side of this issue and let the personal side of the equation go. Let the borrower know that you are prepared to go to any
America is obsessed with credit scores. And the obsession is for good reason. Credit scoring algorithms determine whether or not you will be approved for a mortgage, auto loan, credit card or personal loan. Scores also determine how much you will pay for those products. Having a credit score above 750 can get you the lowest interest rate available, which can save you thousands of dollars. Given how much money is at stake, it makes common sense to understand how scores work and how to have the best score possible.
However, like all obsessions, the credit score obsession is unhealthy. Now that websites enable you to track your score weekly, people actually do track their credit scores weekly. And that is an almost pointless exercise.
But ignoring your credit score completely, and pretending that it doesn’t exist, doesn’t make sense either. Unless you will never need to borrow money, you should have a good score. And contrary to one of the worst myths out there, you don’t need to borrow money and pay interest in order to have a good credit score. You can have an excellent credit score for free.
There Are Hundreds of Credit Scores
FICO is the most well-known
Have you been using the same credit card for many years, blissfully ignoring advertisements for new credit cards? Perhaps your current card is so great that it’s a keeper, but maybe you are ignoring its faults.
The credit card industry is extremely competitive, and card issuers are constantly offering new products with new features, better rewards, and lower interest rates and fees. So before you spend another year with your old credit card account, think of these six reasons you might want to cancel your current card, and find something new.
1. Customer Service Isn’t Helpful
Has there been a problem with your bill? If you reached out to your card issuer and it has been unhelpful, it might be time take your business elsewhere. With so many banks and credit unions fighting for your business, there is no excuse for a company to leave its account holders less than satisfied.
2. You Aren’t Receiving Competitive Rewards
Intense competition has driven up the value of the rewards that cardholders can now receive, and those who have an older card might be left behind. Years ago, the standard rate of cash back rewards was 1 percent, but now there are cards that offer
I mproving your credit score can be more arduous at certain points in life — and inspires different approaches. CBS News — with the help of Credit Karma — has broken down average credit score by age, and the options for improving a credit score. We’ve added our advice and directed you to the parts of our Solution Center that can help you with your credit.
In Your 20s
- Average credit score: 635.
- What to do about it: Get a credit card without annual fees as soon as you can, which our Solutions Center’s Finding the Perfect Plastic page can help you do. “Ask Stacy: How Can I Get Credit Without Credit?” can also help. Then, pay off the bills on time every month and get another card after a few months of responsibly managing the first one. Having multiple cards builds up your “payment history” score category, which constitutes 35 percent of your FICO score.
In Your 30s
- Average credit score: 645 to 646.
- What to do about it: Continue paying off credit card bills on time every month and monitor your credit score carefully. In truth, this advice applies to your credit score at any age.
For many people, the worst part of the holiday season is the hangover — the debt hangover, that is. Debt has become such a burden that according to a recent survey by CreditCards.com, 13 percent of all Americans believe they will never get out of debt, and another 8 percent believe they’ll be in debt into their 70s. That’s 21 percent of Americans struggling with debt that they believe will last throughout their working lives. On top of that, nearly a third of Americans have new debt as a result of this holiday season.
Now that the season of giving has ended, it’s time for the season of digging to begin — digging out of debt, that is. If you’re part of, or worried about becoming part of, the 21 percent of Americans struggling with long-term debt, now is the perfect time to get yourself on track to make that debt a part of your past — and not your future.
Why Debt Can Be Trouble — and What You Can Do About It
Your debt represents money you’re paying now for things that happened and decisions that you made in the past. Every dollar in debt is a dollar you’re
When 55-year old Donna Taylor, of Fayetteville, TN, left behind a lucrative six-figure job in advertising to pursue her lifelong dream of starting her own company, she knew she was going to have to cut her costs. Significantly.
That meant working out — and sticking to — a serious budget. “It’s not like I was living lavishly, but like everyone else, I wasn’t giving too much thought as to where my money was going.”
Her plan: to cut her expenses — everything from insurance to vacations to dry cleaning costs — by 50% a year. After all, she was going to be investing a significant portion of her savings — thus far, over $100,000 — to launch Lucky Bucky, an online retail company for horse enthusiasts.
How’d she do it?
Taylor shares some of her cost-cutting tips:
Use A Personal Finance Software Program. Taylor uses Quicken to track and manage every aspect of her finances. And it’s been an eye-opening experience. “You see all the money you’re spending in all the different categories; when I saw how much money was going toward entertainment, that had to stop,” she says.”My husband and I used to go out 2-3 times a week; now we have
President Obama has announced that he’s taking steps to safeguard our privacy. But, when it comes to our finances, that apparently entails providing free credit scores to customers of Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) and notifying people when they’ve been involved in a data breach. That’s it, and that’s a big mistake.
You see, while the White House refers to credit scores as “one of the best early indicators of identity theft,” the truth is that fraud can take quite a long time to manifest itself in your credit score. And, when your score ultimately does get hit, not only will it be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, but the damage will already have been done.
What Obama Should Have Proposed
Obama should have proposed legislation that would provide both free ongoing credit report access and monitoring to all consumers.
All credit scores are based on the information in major credit reports. Signs of identity theft — such as fraudulent trade lines or change of address notifications — would therefore show up in your credit bureau files as soon as identity theft rears its ugly head.
Credit bureaus are also renowned for making mistakes. The most reliable estimates show that