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A reader and her husband were surprised to find a delinquent account on his credit history, and now they need to clean it up before they apply for a mortgage. Possible? Yes.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 9, 2014 12:47PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneySometimes there are reader questions I can answer off the top of my head. Others require research. Then there's the occasional situation that I've personally lived through. Such is the case with this week's question. Except for the creditor and amount, it's almost identical to something that happened to me about 20 years ago.

Mortgage document © Southern Stock Corp/CorbisHere's the question:

My husband and I are trying to pre-qualify for a mortgage, and when we checked his credit report there was a delinquent account we were not aware of. After disputing this account, we discovered his ex-wife had put him down as a responsible party on a dental bill for his daughter. Experian will not remove it from his credit report, and it has hurt his score. The disputed amount is $188. If we pay this, will it improve his score in time for a house closing later this year? -- Lynette

New data show what percentage of owners go without coverage as their cars age.

By QuinStreet Sep 9, 2014 11:59AM
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site on MSN MoneyThinking about dropping the collision coverage on your trusty but aging jalopy? You're most likely to do so after the car's eighth birthday, according to a new analysis from

Woman driving car © Pixland, JupiterimagesBased on data from more than half a million car insurance quotes, the study indicates more drivers opt to drop at year eight than any other time. Nine out of 10 owners of seven-year-old vehicles have collision coverage, but only 75 percent of eight-year owners still do.

By year 12, half of car owners have dropped collision coverage.

"When you drop collision coverage, you're essentially saying that you can do without that car or have a way to replace it without the help of insurance coverage," says Managing Editor Des Toups. (You can see how much coverage people with cars the same age as yours have in the "What Drivers Like You Buy" tool.)

Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle when you are at fault or the guy who hit you is uninsured. It's required while you're still paying off an auto loan (along with comprehensive, which pays for things like theft and vandalism) and is a good idea for some years after that.

How many years? That depends. We asked some people who think about money a lot how they decided to keep collision or drop it.


Shortly after Apple's latest phone, the iPhone 6, is announced, people will be lining up to pay any price and sign long, expensive contracts. They have their wires crossed.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 2:48PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyOn Tuesday Apple is expected to announce its latest smartphone, the iPhone 6. And that's just one of several new smartphones being unveiled this month. Watch for new phones from Microsoft (Nokia Lumia 730), Sony (Sony Xperia Z3), Motorola Mobility (Motorola G), and Samsung Electronics (Note 4). PCWorld has details. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)

Portrait of various smartphones © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

EMarketer projected that 4.55 billion people will use mobile phones worldwide this year, and about 1.75 billion of them will use smartphones. It expects that nearly 70 percent of people worldwide will be mobile phone users by 2017, compared with 61 percent last year, and the number using smartphones will continue to increase.

That's a huge market, with high stakes for phone makers. But don't let the hype hypnotize you into making an impulse buy. Here are seven ways to save on your new smartphone purchase:


If you're not using a free password service, you're making your life a lot more difficult than it has to be and making hackers' lives a lot easier than they should be.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 8, 2014 2:07PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyEven the most hopeful among us will now have to admit that we basically have no online security. None. Nada. Zilch.

User name field on computer screen © William Andrew, PhotographerIf you've shopped at Home Depot, Target or any one of thousands of other businesses, which covers pretty much every American older than 18, your credit card and other personal information have theoretically been exposed.

Even if you're allergic to plastic and always use cash, the Russians likely have your passwords.

And if you like to take nude selfies and store them on your phone, well, there's apparently a hack for that as well.

What most of us do when confronted practically daily with this brutal new reality is, well, nothing. What can we do? Stop using the Internet? Stop using online banking? Stop taking racy pics?

Well, I guess we could stop taking racy pics. But the other stuff? Not so much.


Can you increase your wealth by changing the way you think about money, saving and spending?

By Sep 8, 2014 1:38PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site on MSN MoneySimply thinking about becoming wealthy isn’t likely to get you very far, but thinking like the rich is critical if you want to build wealth, says Steve Siebold, who wrote the book "How Rich People Think."

Here he shares five key ways the wealthy think differently about money and credit.

Wealthy woman © moodboard/Corbis1. Leverage creates wealth

"On one side of the spectrum is labor, and at the other (end) is leverage," he says. "The rich employ money to make money. Labor doesn’t pay very well but leverage pays extremely well. We’re never taught to use leverage. Who teaches you that?"

The concept of leverage refers to using other people’s money to make money, he explains. And while that may sound good in theory, it’s a difficult concept to grasp if you don’t have a lot of money to begin with.

So go where the money is, he says. "The rich are always looking for alternative investments,” Seibold says. “They may be more risky but they can afford to take the risk. All you need is a good idea to start a business; there is so much money out there." In other words, don't just look to traditional sources to borrow money, look for private sources as well.


It grew gradually, until one day Yvette and Kyle decided they'd had enough. Here's how they turned the tables on debt.

By Sep 8, 2014 11:45AM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site on MSN MoneyYvette knows she didn't just wake up one morning hopelessly in debt. She and her husband had good jobs -- she is a hospital administrator and he is a property manager -- and good incomes.

The debt built slowly, over about seven years, and with a series of money decisions like, "we need to book our vacation now, but we'll pay for it when we get our tax refund," or "we'll pay it when the bill comes," and finally, "we'll pay half this month and half next," Yvette said. (She prefers not to reveal her last name.)

Woman with credit cards (© Corbis)Only something always got in the way. Balances grew, and even in the months when she and her husband, Kyle, were able to pay more than the minimum payment, they were making little headway in shrinking their enormous debt. It was frustrating to see the balance barely drop.

Then Kyle's business failed.


Frugal tips to help you enjoy fresh produce in the fall include buying what's in season, frequenting roadside stands, and growing your own.

By Sep 8, 2014 11:12AM
This post comes from Emily Lugg at partner site on MSN MoneyEating fresh produce doesn't have to cost a fortune. With a little planning and research, you can eat relatively cheap, unprocessed foods even through the cold months.

Peppers © imageDJ, JupiterimagesFrom stocking up on summer produce to careful comparison shopping, our list of tips can help you eat fresh for less this fall.

Know what's in season
For starters, build your menus and shopping lists around seasonal produce. Fall is the moment for vegetables and fruits like beets, eggplant, hard squash, berries, figs, and apples. Remember that the rarer the product, the more it costs, so choosing foods in abundance this time of year means eating fresh for less.

In Ohio, for example, fall stars include cauliflower, pumpkin, and turnips. Check your own state's agricultural guides for details to learn about the local fall harvest. Food-delivery services, such as Green Bean Delivery in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri, and Full Circle in San Francisco, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, carry and deliver in-season produce right to your doorstep.

About half of U.S. families live on $60,000 a year or less. Let's take a look at how they do it.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 5, 2014 12:22PM

This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDo you and your family live a "normal" American life on $60,000 a year? I'd love to hear from you.

Couple with paperwork © Christina Kennedy, Brand X, CorbisMy story for The Restless Project about the $100,000 annual budget for a normal family stirred up such emotion that I plan to do a series on this topic. In case you are new to this project, I compiled a mythical budget for a family of four living near a large U.S. city and found that expenses add up to $8,300 a month, or about $100,000 a year, pretty quickly.

Reactions were all over the board. They ranged from, on one side of things:

  • You're crazy. You left out things like costs for summer camp or retirement savings.
  • You're crazy. You left out emergencies like health problems.
  • You're crazy. You left out alimony payments. With so much divorce, this is reality for many families.


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