Graduation is a time of exciting possibilities, high expectations -- and new financial realities. Get off on the right foot and build a brighter future with these seven tips.
This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner site Money Talks News.
I landed my first professional job right out of college way back in 1992. I was earning $18,000 a year and somehow managed to pay rent for a small apartment just off of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, have a car, and dine out (maybe a bit too often) with friends.
I didn't feel the least bit deprived at the time. In fact, I felt like I was making enough to not only stay on top of my bills, but save, and enjoy life too. I think what kept everything in balance was a basic knowledge of how to manage money and meticulously avoiding the more common missteps that might have capsized my little income boat.
No doubt there are throngs of new grads out there looking for or landing their first "real" job and wondering how to make ends meet and still save in an economy that can best be described as challenging. Here are seven strategies that can help:
There is no foolproof way to keep yourself completely safe, but there are precautions you can take that will reduce the risk your data will be compromised.
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site Credit.com.
Every year, millions of Americans fall victim to identity theft. The effects can be widespread -- hurting credit scores, homebuying potential and even job opportunities. Data shows that an identity theft occurs every three seconds and in 2012 identity fraud activity equaled more than $21 billion in losses. But there are some ways you can try to make yourself less of a target.
When shopping and banking online you have to be vigilant. Here are four tips to keep your online transactions secure.
1. Use the right card
Credit cards can offer more protection for consumers than debit cards. Read the find print on credit card agreements to learn about the protections and limitations. Learn what each of your credit cards offer as fraud protection and liability protection. This way you can choose the best card for online purchases. It can be a good idea to use only one card for online transactions, to limit your exposure to fraud and theft.
A financial crisis is seriously tough, but it can be the beginning of something new. Here's how to dig yourself out.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.
These are uncertain times. Jobs aren't as dependable as they once were, and a serious illness can devastate your finances.
Even people who are well-prepared can make mistakes or encounter misfortunes that ruin their finances. It can happen to the best of us.
If it does, it helps to remember: This is not the end; it's the beginning of something new. People bounce back from disaster all the time.
You've spent years trying to instill financial responsibility in your youngster, and now his score is higher than yours? It may not mean the student has outperformed the teacher.
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.
Let's imagine you've done what you can to teach your college student about responsibly using credit -- and have tried to help that young adult work toward good credit scores. And it has worked -- she behaved responsibly as an authorized user on your credit card. Good habits, instilled early, can pay big dividends later.
Now imagine you're showing your son how to check his free annual credit reports. (You can do this when you're checking yours -- you do check them, right?) And just for fun, you decide to use a free online tool (like the Credit Report Card) to check his credit score -- and yours. And you discover your kid's score is higher than yours. What's up with that?
Credit scoring expert Barry Paperno says that the very same tradeline can give the kid more points than the parent gets. "By having an old, perfectly paid and utilized credit card on a child's report, she may be at the head of the class credit scoring-wise compared with others having a similar overall length of credit history and number of tradelines. Whereas that same account may just be considered average for her parents when compared with people having a longer history and thicker credit file," he explains.
A new report finds that lopsided income growth is happening across the nation, but the gap between the top earners and everyone else is substantially wider in several states.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
Average real income in the U.S. grew by more than a third between 1979 and 2007. That's great news for Americans, right?
Unfortunately, no. Not all Americans, anyway.
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that all 50 states have experienced lopsided income growth in recent decades. In fact, between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers took home nearly 54 percent of the total increase in income.
To put it another way, while the bottom 99 percent of earners experienced an 18.9 percent average growth in income, the income of the top 1 percent grew more than 10 times that much -- a whopping 200.5 percent increase.
Here are some other key findings from the report:
You sign a form that indicates you understand your privacy rights -- but then office procedures may put your medical history at risk.
Watch an episode of "SVU," "Law & Order" or "CSI" on TV, and you’re bound to hear about doctor-patient confidentiality in hushed, almost reverent terms. Go to a new doctor’s office and, amid all the other paperwork, you’ll be asked to sign a form enumerating your federally-mandated medical privacy rights. Call a hospital to check in on a friend and you’re likely to hear that those rights prevent them from connecting your call.
So then why is medical identity theft one of the most common forms of identity theft and growing?
It’s partially because, like many small businesses, doctor’s offices often don’t understand best practices when it comes to protecting the information they keep on their patients, and their record-keeping is often based on antiquated forms and methods of documentation that are long past their prime.
For instance, I recently made an appointment with a new, highly recommended physician whose staff immediately emailed me a new patient information form to fill out… and they suggested that I return it to a Hotmail account! I was dumbfounded that they would even recommend email -- which is transmitted in plain text (with a few exceptions) and easily intercepted -- to pass along my entire medical history.
Worse yet, most people don’t know how dangerous it is to email this kind of personal information, or that you don’t just have to hand over all the information that a doctor requests. So what are some of the things they ask for that they don’t need to know?
These tactics will help you stretch available funds to provide the best life you can afford for your animal companion.
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.
How much could that doggie (or kitty) in the window cost? Anywhere from $580 to $875 per year just for the basics, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
That's in addition to "capital costs" such as purchase or adoption fees, spaying/neutering, collar, leash, crate, carrier bag, training and microchip implantation.
Are parents legally required to pay for their kid's higher education? One New Jersey honor student thinks so.
This post comes from Hal M. Bundrick at partner site MainStreet.
A New Jersey high school honor student whose father says she left home voluntarily in October is suing her parents for financial support – and to force them to pay for her college education.
Rachel Canning is suing for "abandonment," saying her parents threw her out of their house when she turned 18. Her father, a former police chief, says his daughter wouldn't abide by "reasonable household rules" and instead decided to live with the family of her best friend.
The girl's father, Sean Canning, tells The Daily Record of Parsippany that his daughter refused to be respectful, keep a curfew and do household chores. The parents are also asking that she "reconsider" or end a relationship with a boyfriend they believe to be a bad influence.
Rachel Canning's suit seeks payment of current living and transportation expenses, the payment of Catholic high school tuition totaling over $5,000 and the commitment of an existing college fund to the daughter, as well as mounting legal fees, totaling nearly $13,000 so far.
"My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules," Rachel says in the court filing. "They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me and have redirected my college fund, indicating their refusal to afford me an education as a punishment."
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