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Personal Finance

TIps and advice on personal finance by Adam K Levin.


  • How to Protect Your Credit When You Close a Credit CardFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance

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    Even if you have a perfectly valid reason, believe it or not, simply closing a credit card could hurt your credit score. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. If you do decide to close a credit card account, here are three ways to minimize that damage and speed your credit score’s recovery. First, close the right card. Avoid closing the cards you’ve had the longest, with the highest credit […]

  • Why Maxing Out a Credit Card Hurts Your Credit ScoreFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance, Money

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    While there may be certain life crises that require you to charge a large amount — like a medical emergency or an unexpected auto repair — you must always keep an eye on your credit card balance and avoid hitting the limit. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. If you’re forced to put an unexpected expense on your credit card, try to pay down the balance as quickly as […]

  • Is It OK to Pay Just the Minimum Payment on My Credit Card?Financial Literacy, Personal Finance

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    If you can only make the minimum payment on your credit card now and again, it’s not a big deal but don’t make a habit of it. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. When money gets tight, many people decide to cut back by making only the minimum payment on their credit card. Unfortunately failing to pay more can increase the life and sum of your debt considerably. Under […]

  • What is a credit score?Financial Literacy, Personal Finance, Money

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    You’ve heard of credit scores. Maybe you’ve even checked yours. But do you really understand what they are and how they work? I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. Credit scores are like a crystal ball for lenders. By looking at how people have handled credit in the past they try to predict how they’re likely to handle it in the future. The five main factors they look at are […]

  • What is a credit report?Financial Literacy, Personal Finance, Money

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    You’ve heard of credit reports but do you really know what they are – or where they come from? I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. Your credit report is a record of your financial behavior that’s kept by credit reporting agencies which provide that information to businesses when they’re considering potential borrowers. There are 3 national credit bureaus that maintain credit reports on consumers – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. […]

  • 3 Really Bad Ways to Use Your Credit CardFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance, Money

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    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% […]

  • More Reasons to Get Your Credit ScorePersonal Finance

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    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 […]

  • Why You Need To Know Your Credit Before A Job SearchFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance

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    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 […]

  • Credit Score

    What is a Good Credit Score?Financial Literacy, Personal Finance, Money

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    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 […]

  • The 4 Laziest Ways to Improve Your Credit ScoreColumn, Blog, Personal Finance

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    There are people out there who expend a lot of energy in the quest for a totally meaningless perfect credit score, which I’ve written about elsewhere. Most people know it’s important to have good credit, but they don’t want to spend too much time worrying about it. The good news is that you can be pretty lazy and still improve your credit. The difference between having good credit (generally from 700-749) and bad credit (anything […]

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