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  • Shred, White & Blue: Freedom From Identity Theft?

    Column Blog Identity Theft 

    It’s finally here. You’ve been saving up for months. This is your day. You are the Master of the Data Security Universe, Ms. Never-Gonna-Happen-To-Me, Captain Try-Personally-Identifying-This. And you’re going to… a Shred-a-Thon! Yes, it’s that time of the year when friends and neighbors gather in the haze of grilling hot dogs and burgers as they feed their old papers to a municipality-owned, or financial institutionally-leased shred-mobile, while talking about data security and sharing a horror […]

  • Mistake

    9 Impulse Purchases You Instantly Regret

    Personal Finance 

    A new survey conducted by Bankrate.com reported that a quarter of Americans had no savings to weather financial hard times. It didn’t matter if the respondents were relatively higher earners: Folks are spending pretty much what they make. Impulse purchases are definitely a culprit here, along with the refusal to make saving a priority. The world of retail is exceptionally good at keeping the Rainy Day Fund drier than the Mojave Desert on the Fourth […]

  • 3 Really Bad Ways to Use Your Credit Card

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    Your credit card can be a wonderful enabler or a weapon of financial destruction. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. Of all the things you can charge with a credit card, here are three really bad ideas: Taxes. Many people find credit cards a tempting way to pay taxes if they discover they’re faced with a larger bill than expected. But beware: processors collect an average fee of 2% […]

  • Could an Adopt-a-Loan Program Take a Bite Out of Student Debt?

    Column Blog 

    The private sector adopts all sorts of things — highways, parks, medians, pets, pet projects — so why not student loans? With the right tax incentives, an Adopt-a-Loan program could help ease the current financial quagmire of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Earlier this week, Starbucks announced a plan that will let any of its 135,000 employees go to college for free — as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the new […]

  • More Reasons to Get Your Credit Score

    Personal Finance 

    You probably know all the common reasons to get your credit score. You’re getting a mortgage or a credit card and you want to know if you’ll be approved. But there are other reasons… and they may surprise you. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. Too many people only check their credit scores when a life event requires them to apply for credit. Here are six situations where having […]

  • 7 Reasons to Get Your Credit Score


    In a recent Credit.com survey, 36% of people said that the last time they saw their credit score, they were applying for a loan. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also not the ideal time to find out what’s going on with your credit… especially if you discover there’s a problem. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. You should be checking your credit scores before you need them, […]

  • Why You Need To Know Your Credit Before A Job Search

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance 

    If you’re looking for work, you need to know what’s on your credit reports. Why? Because there’s a decent chance your future employer will be looking too. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. While some states limit which type of employers can check your credit, the practice is fairly common. Here are four things you need to know: 1. Employers must get your written permission to pull your credit […]

  • The Laziest Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

    Financial Literacy Lifehacking Money 

    You can be pretty lazy and still help your credit. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. Credit can be confusing, overwhelming, and sometimes, downright depressing. Many people with credit problems never get help because they don’t know where to start, or they think it’s all just too difficult and they figure, why bother. But the reality is that there are some pretty simple rules you can live by to […]

  • Dangers of Posting Facts on Social Networking Sites

    Data Security 

    In the last decade, hackers have illegally accessed more than one billion consumer records. Sadly, many of us are making the job easier for them because of the way we use sites like Facebook and Twitter. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute With such an enormous treasure trove of data in the hands of fraudsters and identity thieves, do you really need to provide additional personal information to them […]

  • Credit Score

    What is a Good Credit Score?

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. So a good credit score means you pay less for the money you borrow. But “good” or “good enough” can mean different things to different lenders I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. Most credit scores – including the FICO score and the latest version of VantageScore – are on a scale of 301 to 850. Within that range there […]