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You’d be surprised how much an auto insurer knows about you before you’re even a customer.

By QuinStreet Jul 9, 2014 11:22AM
This post comes from Penny Gusner at partner site CarInsurance.com.

CarInsurance.com on MSN MoneyCar insurance companies don’t like guessing games. When you ask for a quote, they want to know who you are and what you’ve been up to. Fortunately for insurers, there are a lot of companies willing to help them.


Convertible © Carlos S.Pereyra, Pixtal, age Here are the most common reports used by car insurance companies to help determine whether they want to insure you and at what price. Some reports you can get yourself, and others you’ll never see.


1. Insurance score

Your credit history is important to car insurance companies because it’s a predictor of how likely you are to pay on time and make a claim. There are exceptions: If you live in California, Hawaii or Massachusetts, auto insurers can’t use credit information to set rates. 


A credit score typically takes into account your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit.

 

Fraudsters are trying to collect on phony debts by harassing your family and friends.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 8, 2014 2:37PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyScammers trying to coerce people into paying phantom debts are expanding their intimidation techniques by calling and harassing victims' friends and family.


According to the National Consumer League's Fraud.org, callers impersonating debt collectors are hoping that social pressure or the fear of losing a job will push victims to fork over the money to pay off the fictitious debt.


Boy wearing sheet for Halloween ghost costume © Thinkstock/Getty ImagesSo how do scammers obtain people’s personal information, including the names of loved ones and employers? Surprisingly, it's actually coming from the victims -- unbeknownst to them, of course. Fraud.org said:

Scammers may be acquiring contact information for a victim's employer or family members through bogus online payday loan applications. Information about consumers who have previously been defrauded (is) also sold and traded among scammers. These so-called "sucker lists" can contain information such as a consumer's home and work address, phone number, occupation, and information about how much money a consumer has spent on previous fake offers.

Debt collectors calling family members and friends is a red flag that something fishy is going on.

 

Our ideas about finance-related success and happiness have evolved over the years.

By Credit.com Jul 8, 2014 2:35PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyWhat's your vision of the American Dream and what are you doing to achieve it? In the new 2014 Credit.com American Dream Survey, we found that most are optimistic about their prospects for achieving their version of the American Dream, but some groups are definitely more confident than others.


The majority of those surveyed chose one of three responses when asked what they think the American Dream represents to them:

US currency © Steve Allen, Brand X, Corbis

  • A secure retirement at age 65 (36 percent)
  • Being debt-free (25 percent)
  • Owning a home (17 percent)

Other less popular responses included joining the "one percent," (5 percent), graduating from college (3 percent), paying off student loans (2 percent) and “other” (11 percent).


The 2014 Credit.com American Dream Survey was based on a survey of 1,094 U.S. consumers, 18+, using Survey Monkey Audience, June 19 - 23, 2014. The margin of error was +/- 3 percent.

 

Hyundai has introduced a technology that not only alerts drivers about roadside cameras installed to catch speeders, it automatically slows down your car so you don't get a ticket.

By Money Staff Jul 8, 2014 2:27PM

This post comes from Brad Tuttle at partner site Money magazine.


Money magazine on MSN MoneyThe 2015 Hyundai Genesis has been getting mostly positive reviews from car experts. Kelley Blue Book, for instance, described the new model—the affordable automaker’s high-end vehicle aimed to compete in the luxury category with Mercedes and BMW—as “beguilingly quick” and still very “comfortable and quiet.” And the automatic braking system is a potential life-saver: Using cameras and radar sensors, the vehicle can sense danger up ahead and hit the brakes automatically if the driver hasn’t already reacted.


Yet one of the coolest features in the vehicle’s automatic braking system has been overlooked in most American reviews, which isn't surprising considering that the technology won’t be available in the U.S. market, at least not yet.


2015 The Hyundai Genesis is seen at the 2014 International Auto Show in Madrid, Spain © Emilio Naranjo/EPAAs first reported in Australia's Driver.com.au, Hyundai spokesman Guido Schenken explained that the new Genesis’s GPS is preloaded with the locations of roadside cameras that track speeding cars and dish out tickets when appropriate. The car then alerts the driver that he’s about to zip past a camera and, if necessary, the brakes are applied automatically so the vehicle isn’t over the local speed limit.

 

We're fewer than five months away from the start of the Silly Season. Let this be the year you choose a saner approach to holiday spending -- by starting now.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 8, 2014 1:02PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDid last year's holiday shopping bust your budget? You're not alone. According to a Gallup poll, the average American ponied up $96 each day in December 2013.


Santa Claus (© John Lund/Jupiterimages)This was discretionary spending, in addition to everyday expenses. Come January, you have to wonder how many people got hit with credit card bills they couldn't pay.


We're fewer than five months away from Black Friday. Let this be the year you choose a saner approach to holiday spending. Just a few basic strategies will help you spend less and enjoy more.


Your plan should begin with an honest assessment of how much you can afford to spend. Some people add up last year's tab and add 10 percent -- easy, right? Be honest: You might not actually have been able to afford it. Maybe it took months to pay off, or maybe it sidelined your efforts to build an emergency fund or save for a summer vacation.


What you can afford should translate to "what you can pay for at the time," whether that's cash as you go or a credit card paid in full each month. But here's the beauty part: If you start shopping now (more on that in a minute), you won't be a nervous wreck come late November.

 

Whether a tax refund or an inheritance, sooner or later most of us will have a lump sum of money land in our laps. Here's the step-by-step on handling it properly.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 8, 2014 12:49PM

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


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyMost of us, at one time or another, will get some unexpected money. Being confused as to what to do with it is a nice problem to have, of course, but a problem nonetheless.


Here's this week’s reader question:

What is the best way to deal with a large inheritance? Something that is well into the $400,000 to $850,000 range? Age is only in middle 50s. -- Tina
Now, here's what to do, step by step. 

If you're doing any of these things, stop it. You'll be glad you did later.

By Credit.com Jul 8, 2014 11:37AM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyLiving in a villa in rural Italy. Enjoying the beaches of Florida. Skydiving in the Swiss Alps. Absorbing the culture of major metropolises around the world. No matter what your dream for retirement is, it is never too early to start planning. Achieving a well-planned, financially sound retirement is about making the right choices along the way. Below are five common mistakes that can put your retirement goals at risk.

Couple looking at computer © Corbis1. Not saving early or often enough

While you may think there is plenty of time between your current life stage and retirement, it’s never too early to start saving. The longer you wait to start, the more money you will have to contribute per year to make up for time lost. Not only will you save more the earlier you begin, but it’s important to establish the financial habit to continue throughout their career.

 

New car fever can make you do strange things. Before you set foot on a dealer lot, read these 10 tips to help you pay less for your next vehicle.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 7, 2014 4:15PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAfter a house, a vehicle is probably the biggest purchase you'll make. Unfortunately, while your house might appreciate -- that is, gain value over time -- your car will eventually turn into a nearly worthless hunk of metal, plastic and upholstery.


Couple shopping for car © Don Mason, Blend Images, CorbisRather than pour oodles of cash into something whose value is going to drop like a rock, use these 10 tips to spend as little as possible on a vehicle that will safely serve you for years.


1. Buy used … usually

You knew this would be the first bit of advice, right?


Of course it is. How could it not be when Edmunds reports that the average new car loses 11 percent of its value as soon as it's driven off the lot? That means your $20,000 car is suddenly worth less than $18,000. Then, after five years, it will likely be worth only slightly more than $12,500.


So it almost always makes sense to buy used. Wait two or three years and you can often get a much cheaper car that is almost as good as one fresh off the assembly line.


However, if you're planning to get a car that's only a year old, in some cases a new car may be cheaper when dealer and manufacturer incentives are factored in. Edmunds has a list of vehicles for which it may make sense to buy the new version rather than one that is last year's model.

 

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