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Millennials’ aversion to credit cards can make it hard for them to build good credit scores. A recently announced scoring system, the UltraFICO, may someday help them and other consumers get loans and credit based on how they use their bank accounts. People who don’t overdraw and who keep a few hundred dollars in their accounts could get enough points added to their traditional FICO credit scores to qualify for approvals or better rates and terms. Others who don’t have FICO scores at all could get UltraFICO scores that allow them to get approved for credit. These are big changes, because
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Big sales, must-have items and a list that just seems to get longer: Holiday shopping can drain your wallet and your sanity. Don’t let the stress erode your guard against identity theft, though. All that holiday shopping can leave you more vulnerable to scams. “It’s the fact that we’re not paying attention that makes the holidays so risky for ID theft,” says Eva Velasquez, CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit dedicated to helping consumers safeguard their identity. Save yourself from falling victim by recognizing these sources of scams. 1. Unsecure networks and devices Shopping over public Wi-Fi, such as
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In light of the ongoing trade war with China, some Americans are pausing and adding more thought to their holiday shopping plans this year. Some 93% of Americans said they plan to make purchases this holiday season, according to a new NerdWallet survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, of over 2,000 U.S. adults. Of those, 44% said they will compare prices of products more closely because of the trade war. American attention is divided Tariffs have dominated business and economic news throughout 2018. In an economic back-and-forth between countries, the United States has imposed tariffs on certain products imported from
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In this series, NerdWallet interviews people who have triumphed over debt using a combination of commitment, budgeting and smart financial choices. Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Allison Baggerly How much: $111,108.29 in 4.5 years Budgeting was the last thing Allison Baggerly and her husband, Matt, thought about. Instead, they focused on eating out, shopping and enjoying life as young professionals. That was until they discovered that their first baby was on the way. Suddenly, the couple’s financial priorities shifted. Over $100,000 in debt, Allison, then 24 years old, and Matt, who was 28, knew they had to free up
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One million dollars might sound like enough to retire with today, but by the time you reach your last day of work, it’ll be worth less than you might think. The reason is inflation, and it impacts how you plan for the future. Here’s a look at what inflation is and how to keep it from draining your short- and long-term savings. Here’s what inflation is… Broadly speaking, inflation is the increase in overall prices for goods and services in an economy. You’ll need more money tomorrow to buy the same things you buy today. “Inflation is the silent killer
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In the event of a fire or other disaster, would you be able to remember all your possessions? We know how important your personal belongings are to you.  That’s why it’s important to create and maintain an accurate household inventory.    A few things to get you started are listed below: Keep a detailed list of all items – don’t forget the smaller items like towels, shoes, and number of pairs of jeans. Check coverage on big ticket items – Jewelry, art and collectibles may have increased in value and may need special coverage separate from your standard homeowners insurance policy.
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  With a swipe here and a swipe there, it can be easy to live your life on plastic and pile up debt. You’re not alone: U.S. households carried credit card balances that totaled $815 billion in debt in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Sticking to a budget, spending wisely and focusing on your financial goals can help you use your money for the things that are most important to you — without taking on the burden of credit card debt. Here are three strategies to help you avoid the debt trap. Set
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  Back-to-school shopping is an expensive chore. And if you shop local sales, it’s a chore you’ll share with thousands of other parents in the vicinity. If it’s big savings you’re after when you brave the crowds, sales flyers won’t cut it. You’ve got to get creative. “Back-to-school shopping can put a big strain on family budgets, but planning ahead to take advantage of discounts, setting a budget, and only buying what your child actually needs helps your dollar go a lot farther,” says NerdWallet personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer. Going beyond the sales flyers in your savings efforts may
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  If a bank account is a house for your money, then mobile alerts are your alarm system. These email or text alerts can help you keep track of when your money enters and exits your accounts — and make sure there’s no breaking-and-entering either. “As fraudulent behavior has become more public with major retailers being breached, consumers have realized the importance of being involved in identifying fraud and not solely relying on their banks and credit unions to prevent it,” says Chris Hill, senior manager of digital channels at Alliant Credit Union. Log in to your bank’s app and
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Traveling can be fun, but it can also open you up to fraud risk. Here are some tips for you to keep in mind as you travel: Before you leave, notify your bank of your travel dates and places you will be visiting. Protect your card!  Take only the credit and/or debit cards you expect to use, plus a backup, and keep them safe and close to you.  If you are traveling with your spouse/significant other, it would be beneficial to not have one person carry all cards.  Upon returning home, verify the balance and charges from you travels.  Some
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“Ask Brianna” is a column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna@nerdwallet.com. College is over, but you still have to do the kind of math that matters. Like: How am I supposed to save $50,000 for a down payment on a house? If this question sends you into a shame spiral, making you second-guess your career, the city you live
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All of us are vulnerable to fraud. But the ways some older people use technology can put them at higher risk. That’s where you come in. When you’re home for the holidays, or the next time you visit your folks, offer to help with a few tasks that can keep your parents safer online. Check privacy settings Identity thieves glean details from social media accounts that they can use to impersonate others. Unfortunately, many people have no idea how much information they’re exposing to the world. “If you’ve never changed your Facebook privacy settings, everything you post can be seen
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My wife and I once tried wearing cat and dog masks to talk about money. Our previous attempt to make a budget ended in shouts and pointed fingers, and I thought this might help tame our hair-trigger emotions. Instead, it sparked another disagreement over spending. “I was thinking something more Cirque du Soleil,” she said through the rubber cat mask I bought her. “I feel like we’re about to rob a bank.” Our Halloween tactic didn’t work, but other strategies did. Five years ago, our credit card debt was $20,000. This month, our family of three celebrated that debt dropping
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Most financial to-do lists focus on what you need to get done by Dec. 31, but there’s also a brief window early in the new year to save yourself some significant cash. Here are three tasks to consider doing now: 1. Avoid tax penalties If you live in a high-tax area, have a bunch of children or otherwise take a lot of deductions, you may face an unpleasant surprise on April 15. It won’t just be a big tax bill. You may also face penalties for not having withheld enough taxes in 2018. Some people “are going to be in
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    If you’re getting a divorce, it pays to keep quiet on social media, says New York divorce attorney Jacqueline Newman. Trashing a soon-to-be ex or boasting about your great new life can complicate divorce negotiations. One client’s husband, for example, insisted he couldn’t afford a proposed settlement. Then, he inadvertently gave Newman leverage to get a better deal. “He bragged [on social media] about the great vacation he just took and the big deal he just closed,” Newman says. “And I said, ‘Thank you very much.’” Oversharing isn’t the only mistake people make when their marriages are ending.
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When customers walk into their community bank they are met with a friendly face, greeting and a smile. Once the transaction is complete, the customer is going about the day perhaps not realizing what supporting a community bank really means… The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation classifies community banks as having $10 Billion, or less, in assets. These Banks, Community Banks, are more likely to be privately owned than much larger banks. Community Banks maintain a conceptual rationale of relationship banking and accountability to the customers they serve. Community Banks are the most common size of bank within the industry. Over
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