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As the Las Vegas fall season comes around, the Las Vegas market keeps on going up. Read below for Homieâs update.
In October, the real estate market saw growth on most fronts including the number of listings, number of units sold, and in terms of median listing price and sales price. However, units available and availability went down year-over-year. With that said, weâre still seeing the market continue to grow month-over-month which might indicate that buyers and sellers are becoming more comfortable in the existing real estate market.
Hereâs the full breakdown:
According to the data from the GLVARÂ® from October 2020, Las Vegas real estate realized a 6.8% increase in the number of single-family units sold compared to 2019.Â
Average new list prices stay strong year over year as October records a 9% increase in new listing prices for single-family units and 8.8% increase for condo/townhouse units.Â
*Data from the GLVARÂ® from October 2020 and October 2019
Property prices continued to grow as this seller market keeps on strong. We saw an 8.8% increase in year-over-year median price for single family units, and also a 14.3% increase in year-over-year median price for condos and townhouses.
*Data from the GLVARÂ® from October 2020 and October 2019
Days on Market (DOM)
We saw the Average Cumulative Days on Market continue to decrease in October 2020, as demand for this market continues to go strong. Now averaging an insanely brief 33 days on market versus 81 Average Cumulative Days on Market in 2019. This is a strong indicator that the real estate market will continue to remain strong.Â
*Data from the GLVARÂ® from October 2020 and October 2019
Want to Know How Much Your Homeâs Value?
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The post Homieâs Las Vegas, Nevada Housing Market Update October 2020 appeared first on Homie Blog.
If you’re thinking about how much is enough for retirement, you’re probably contemplating a retirement and need to know how to pay for it. If you are, that’s good because one of the challenges we face is how we’re going to fund our retirement.
Determining then how much retirement savings is enough depends on a number of factors, including your lifestyle and your current income. Either way, you want to make sure that you have plenty of money in your retirement savings so you don’t work too hard, or work at all, during your golden years.
If you’re already thinking about retirement and you’re not sure whether your savings is in good shape, it may make sense to speak with a financial advisor to help you set up a savings plan.
Check Out Now
- 5 Tips to Optimize Your Retirement Account Withdrawals Read Now
- People Who Retire Comfortably Avoid These Financial Advisor Mistakes
How Much Is Enough For Retirement?
Your needs and expectations might be different in retirement than others. Because of that, there’s no magic number out there. In other words, how much is enough for retirement depends on a myriad of personal factors.
However, the conventional wisdom out there is that you should have $1 million to $1.5 million, or that your retirement savings should be 10 to 12 times your current income.
Even $1 million may not be enough to retire comfortably. According to a report from a major personal finance website, GoBankingRates, you could easily blow $1 million in as little as 12 years.
GoBankingRates concludes that a better way to figure out how long $1 million will last you largely depends on your state. For example, if you live in California, the report found, “$1 Million will last you 14 years, 3 months, 7 days.” Whereas if you live in Mississippi, “$1 Million will last you 23 years, 2 months, 2 days.” In other words, how much is enough for retirement largely depends on the state you reside.
For some, coming up with that much money to retire comfortably can be scary, especially if you haven’t saved any money for retirement, or, if your savings is not where it’s supposed to be.
How to Become a 401(k) Millionaire
Early Retirement: 7 Steps to Retire Early
5 Reasons Why You Will Retire Broke
Your current lifestyle and expected lifestyle?
What is your current lifestyle? To determine how much you need to save for retirement, you should determine how much your expenses are currently now and whether you intend to keep the current lifestyle during retirement.
So, if you’re making $110,000 and live off of $90,000, then multiply $90,000 by 20 ($1,800,000). With that number in mind, start working toward a retirement saving goals. However, if you intend to eat and spend lavishly during retirement, then you’ll obviously have to save more. And the same is true if you intend to reduce your expenses during retirement: you can save less money now.
The best way to start saving for retirement is to contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement account. It can be a Roth IRA, a traditional IRA or a 401(k) account. A 401k account should be your best choice, because the amount you can contribute every year is much more than a Roth IRA and traditional IRA.
1. See if you can max out your 401k. If you’re lucky enough to have a 401k plan at your job, you should contribute to it or max it out if you’re able to. The contribution limit for a 401k plan if you’re under 50 years old is $19,000 in 2019. If you’re funding a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA, the limit is $6,000. For more information, see How to Become a 401(k) Millionaire.
2. Automate your retirement savings. If you’re contributing to an employer 401k plan, that money automatically gets deducted from your paycheck. But if you’re funding a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA, you have to do it yourself. So set up an automatic deposit for your retirement account from a savings account. If your employer offers direct deposit, you can have a portion of your paycheck deposited directly into that savings account.
Related: The Best 5 Places For Your Savings Account.
How long do you expect to live? Have your parents or grandparents lived through 80’s or 90’s or 100’s? If so, there is a chance you might live longer in retirement if you’re in good health. Therefore, you need to adjust your savings goal higher.
Consider seeking financial advice.
Saving money for retirement may not be your strong suit. Therefore, you may need to work with a financial advisor to boost your retirement income. For example, if you have a lot of money sitting in your retirement savings account, a financial advisor can help with investment options.
Figuring out how much is enough for retirement depends on how much retirement will cost you and what lifestyle you intend to have. Once you know the answer to these two questions, you can start working towards your savings goal.
How much money you will need in retirement? Use this retirement calculator below to determine whether you are on tract and determine how much you’ll need to save a month.
More on retirement:
- Find Out Now 7 Questions People Forget to Ask Their Financial Advisors
- 7 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Hiring a Financial Advisor
- Compare Fiduciary Financial Advisors — Start Here for Free.
- 7 Situations When You Need a Financial Advisor â Plus How to Find One Read More
- 5 Tips to Optimize Your Retirement Account Withdrawals Read Now
- People Who Retire Comfortably Avoid These Financial Advisor Mistakes
Working With The Right Financial Advisor
You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
The post How Much Is Enough For Retirement? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
Life in the military offers some distinct experiences compared to civilian life, and that includes your budget and finances. The pre-deployment process can feel overwhelming, especially when youâre organizing your money and bills.Â
Itâs important you provide your family with everything they need to keep you and any dependents comfortable and stable. This means gathering paperwork, making phone calls to service providers, creating new budgets, and organizing your estate. The more you prepare ahead of time, the less you have to worry about the state of your investments and finances when you return home.Â
To help make the process easier, weâve gathered everything you need to know for deployment finances. Read on or jump to a specific category below:
- Review Your Estate
- Reassign Financial Responsibilities
- Update Your Services
- Build a Budget
- Prepare a Deployment Binder
- Protect Yourself From Fraud
- Adjust Your Savings
- Financial Assistance
- Update Your Budget
- Pay Off Debt
- Review Legal Documents
Before Your Deployment
Thereâs a lot of paperwork and emotions involved in preparing for deployment. Make sure you take plenty of time for yourself and your loved ones, then schedule time to organize your finances for some peace of mind.Â
investments, and dependents. Itâs an important conversation to have with your partner and establishes:
- Power of attorney
- Living will
- Last will and testament
- Long-term care
- Life insurance
- Survivor benefits
- Funeral arrangements
Anyone with property, wealth, or dependents should have some estate planning basics secured. These documents will protect your wishes and your family in the event you suffer serious injury. There are several military resources to help you prepare your estate:
- Defense Finance And Accounting Servicesâ Survivor Benefit Plan and Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan
- Department Of Defenseâs Military Funeral Honors Pre-arrangementÂ
- Service Memberâs Group Life Insurance
- Veterans Affairs Survivorâs Benefits
- The Importance Of Estate Planning In The Military
- Survivor Benefits Calculator
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows you to cancel a housing or auto lease, cancel your phone service, and avoid foreclosure on a home you own without penalties. Additionally, you can reduce your debt interest rates while youâre deployed, giving you a leg up on debt repayment or savings goals. Learn more about the SCRA benefits below:
- Terminating Your Lease For Deployment
- SCRA Interest Rate Limits
- SCRA Benefits And Legal Guidance
Build a Deployment Budget
Your pay may change during and after deployment, which means itâs time to update your budget. Use a deployment calculator to estimate how your pay will change to get a foundation for your budget.Â
Typically, we recommend you put 50 percent of your pay towards needs, like rent and groceries. If you donât have anyone relying on your income, then you should consider splitting this chunk of change between your savings accounts and debt.Â
Make sure you continue to deposit at least 20 percent of your pay into savings, too. Send some of this towards an emergency fund, while the rest can go towards your larger savings goals, like buying a house and retirement.Â
Use these resources to help calculate your goals and budgets, as well as planning for your taxes:
- My Army Benefits Deployment Calculator
- My Army Benefits Retirement Calculator
- Mint Budget Calculator
- IRS Deployed Veteran Tax Extension
- IRS Military Tax Resources
- Combat Zone Tax Exclusions
Prepare a Deployment Binder
Itâs best to organize and arrange all of your documents, information, and needs into a deployment binder for your family. This will hold copies of your estate planning documents, budget information, and additional contacts and documents.Â
Make copies of your personal documents, like birth certificates, contracts, bank information, and more. You also want to list important contacts like family doctors, your petâs veterinarian, household contacts, and your power of attorney.Â
Once you have your book ready, give it to your most trusted friend or family member. Again, this point of contact will have a lot of information about you that needs to stay secure. Finish it off with any instructions or to-dos for while youâre gone, and your finances should be secure for your leave.Â
While Youâre Deployed
Though most of your needs are taken care of before you deploy, there are a few things to settle while youâre away from home.Â
Romance and identity scams are especially popular and can cost you thousands.Â
- Social Media Scams To Watch For
- Romance Scam Red Flags
- Military Scam Warning Signs
Adjust Your SavingsÂ
Since you wonât be responsible for as many bills, and you may have reduced debt interest rates, deployment is the perfect time to build your savings.
While youâre deployed, you may be eligible for the Department of Defenseâs Savings Deposit Program (SDP), which offers up to 10 percent interest. This is available to service members deployed to designated combat zones and those receiving hostile fire pay.
Military and federal government employees are also eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan. This is a supplementary retirement savings to your Civil Service Retirement System plan.
- Savings Deposit Program
- Thrift Savings Plan Calculator
- Civil Service Retirement System
- Military Saves Resources
Additional Resources for Financial Assistance
Deployment can be a financially and emotionally difficult time for families of service members. Make sure you and your family have easy access to financial aid in case they find themselves in need.Â
Each individual branch of the military offers its own family and financial resources. You can find additional care through local support systems and national organizations, like Military OneSource and the American Legion.Â
- Family Readiness System
- Navy-marine Corps Relief Society
- Air Force Aid Society
- Army Emergency Relief
- Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
- Military Onesourceâs Financial Live Chat
- Find Your Military And Family Support Center
- Emergency Loans Through Military Heroes Fund Foundation Programs
- The American Legion Family Support Network
After You Return Home
Coming home after deployment may be a rush of emotions. Relief, exhaustion, excitement, and lots of celebration are sure to come with it. Thereâs a lot to consider with reintegration after deployment, and that includes taking another look at your finances.Â
Update Your Budget
Just like before deployment, you should update your budget to account for your new spending needs and pay. Itâs time to reinstate your car insurance, find housing, and plan your monthly grocery budget.Â
After a boost in savings while deployed, you may want to treat yourself to something nice â which is totally okay! The key is to decide what you want for yourself or your family, figure if itâs reasonable while maintaining other savings goals, like your rainy day fund, and limit other frivolous purchases. Now is not the time to go on a spending spree â itâs best to invest this money into education savings, retirement, and other long-term plans.
In addition to your savings goals, make sure youâre prepared to take care of yours and your familyâs health. Prioritize your mental health after deployment and speak with a counselor, join support groups, and prepare for reintegration. Your family and children may also have a hard time adjusting, so consider their needs and seek out resources as well.Â
FTC | NFCCÂ
The post Guide to Managing Finances for Deploying Service Members appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Romance and identity scams are especially popular and can cost you thousands.Â
FTC | NFCCÂ
The post How to Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
So, you want to stop spending money.Â That might be easier said than done.Â When it comes to managing your money, there are things you need to do.Â You know you need to budget, try to get out of debt and control your spending.
The issue is not necessarily that you are spending money on things you don’t have; you just aren’t spending it in the right way.Â The issue is not that you don’t make enough money, it is just not having a plan on how to use it once you get it.
That’s what happened to me.Â Unfortunately, I didn’t have a plan for my money.Â That lead me down a path I did not like.
After years of working without a plan, I found myself on the steps of a courthouse declaring bankruptcy. And, because I did not learn how to make the right changes in managing my money, my husband and I found ourselves in debt a few years later.
The difference with the second time I had debt was that I took responsibility for it.Â I owned what happened, and he and I worked together to make changes to not only pay off our debt but never go down that same road again.
If you find yourself in the same situation, you need to make big changes.Â To start, you have to stop spending money you don’t have.Â Plain and simple.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE OVERSPENDING?
You’ve maxed out your credit cards
When there is no room to charge anything on your cards, you might have a problem.Â In most cases, maxed credit cards signals you are living beyond your means.Â If you have to continue to charge because you don’t have money, then you are spending too much.
You can’t find a home for your latest purchase
Your temptation might be electronics or handbags. No matter what you love to buy, you might notice you are running out of room to store things.Â When the stuff takes over your home and is causing clutter, it is time to take a long hard look at how you spend money.
Your budget never works
There may be months when you don’t have enough money in your budget to cover your mortgage or food.Â When you continually spend money on the wrong things, your budget will not work.
That means if you have just $50 for entertainment, do not spend $75.Â That other $25 has to come from another budget line.
You spend more than you earn
Take a look at your credit card balances. You might be paying only the minimum balance because you can’t pay it in full. When you spend more than you make and continue to add more debt, take a look at what you are buying.Â It might be time to pull back and stay out of the stores.
HOW TO STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY
Use a budgetÂ
When many people hear the word budget, what they hear is “you don’t get to spend any money.”Â That is the opposite of what a budget does.Â Your budget is a roadmap.Â It shows you where your money should go – including the fun money you want to spend!
Your budget helps you know what you need to do with your money when you get paid.Â Look at every penny as an employee of yours.Â You get to tell it where it needs to go.Â Some of them will go to rent, others to your car payment and still others will go to the into your savings account.
The best part of a budget is that you can allow for fun.Â Learn how to budget to have fun and even how to budget if your paychecks are never the same amount.
Related: How to Figure Out How Much to Budget for Groceries
Write down your financial goals
Successful people start planning by having the end in mind.Â It may mean taking a backward approach to your finances.
Think about what you want.Â Do you want to get that credit card paid off or maybe take that dream vacation?Â No matter your goal, figure out what it will take to get there, and that will help you set your goal.
It may mean fewer dinners out or putting in some overtime at work.Â Whatever your goal, make sure it is clearly defined and you keep it front and center.Â Put it on your refrigerator.Â Keep a photo of it in your wallet.Â Make sure you see that budget staring you back in the face every time you even think about spending money.Â That will usually stop you right in your tracks.
Related:Â The Secret Trick I Use to Stick to My Budget
Cash is a Must soÂ that you never overspend
If you are someone who is always saying “I can’t stop spending money,” then you need to use cash.Â I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again. Using cash is one of the simplest tricks to help you stop spending money you don’t have.
It works because it gives you defined money.Â If you have $100 to spend at the grocery store, there is no way you can even spend $101.Â You don’t have it.Â You are forced to spend wisely and think more about every purchase you make.
I know some of you are reading this saying “but if I have cash I just spend it so fast.”Â That is because you are not tracking it and taking responsibility for your spending.
You need to use theÂ cash envelope method.
If you have an envelope for groceries with $50 left in it, sure, you can dip into that and grab $20 to spend on lunch.Â But, what happens when you need food for your family?Â That means you’ve just $30 to buy food – which may not get you much.
Cash forces you to think about every purchase you make.
Related:Â How You Can Become Accountable With Your Money
Stop paying for convenience
There is a quick fix for nearly everything. Â You can find dinners in boxes, small pre-packaged snacks, etc. Â Rather than purchase convenience items, buy the larger size snacks and then re-package yourself into smaller baggies. Â You will not only get more out of a box, but you can even control how much you put into each baggie.
There are other ways we pay for convenience. Â We pay for someone to iron our shirts, wash our cars and even mow our lawns. Â By doing these things ourselves, we can keep much more money and easily stop overspending.
Read more:Â How You are Killing Your Grocery Budget
Put away the credit cards to halt spending money
One of the simplest ways to stop spending money is to get out the scissors and cut up those credit cards!!Â Or, if you aren’t ready to cut them up, put them on ice.Â Literally.Â Freeze your credit card in a block of ice.
If you keep spending, you have to cut off the source at its knees.Â While I don’t think credit cards are a good fit for everyone, I know they work for some.
If you must use credit cards, never charge more than you have in the bank to pay it off.Â That means you can’t charge the amount you believe you will get on your paycheck.Â There is never a guarantee that your check will arrive.Â Spend only the amount you have, not what you will receive.
Related:Â How to Pay off Your Credit Card Debt
Pay your bills on time
We all have bills. Â We know when they are due.Â When you miss the payment due date, you get assessed a late charge.Â Â Pay them on time, so you don’t pay more than you need to.
In addition to late fees, not paying your bills on time can have an adverse effect on your credit score. Learn how to organize your bills, so you never pay them late again.
Do not live above your means
Few of us would not love new clothes or a new car. We all would like to make more money or get the hottest new device.Â The thing is, can you afford it? Â Is it a want or is it a need?
If you are using credit or loans to get items that you can not afford, then you are living beyond your means and spending money you don’t have. Â Scale back and make sure that you can honestly afford the house or the car and that it doesn’t ruin your budget and cost you too much.
Read more: Defining Your Wants vs. Your Needs
Don’t fall for impulse buys
Stores are sneaky about making us spend money. Â They use signs, layout and even scents to lure you into wanting to buy more. Â The thing is, if you purchase something you did not intend to, then you are already blowing your budget and probably overspending.
Another way that you are spending too much is when you plan dinnerÂ but then decide at the last minute to go out to dinner instead. Â Why do that when you have food waiting for you at home (which you’ve already paid for)?
The final reason you may impulse buy is that of emotion.Â If you feel a rush because of that new item, you may purchase out of impulse and emotion instead of need.
Read more: Â Stopping Impulse Shopping
Plan your meals
One of the most significant changes we made was to menu plan.Â It took me some time to put it all together, but now, I can plan our meals in no time at all.Â I use theÂ simple menu planning system that I’ve taken time to build over the years.
While this works for me, I remember when I was learning how to menu plan.Â It was quite a process, and I relied upon the help of some experts in the field.Â Â One of them I have used is Erin Chases’s $5 Meal Plan.Â I loved how simple it was to create our meals each week.
Even the best menu plan won’t work if you aren’t eating what you buy.Â Make sure you are not making mistakes with your grocery budget and eat what you buy.Â After all, throwing food away is just money in the trash.
Related:Â Money Saving Secrets Stores Won’t Tell You
Challenge yourself to spend lessÂ
There is something fun about trying to beat yourself at your own game.Â By this I mean, if you have $150 to spend on groceries for the week, try to spend only $130.Â That gives you $20 more to spend on something else — or put towards your goal.
Related:Â Â The Yearly Savings Challenge for Kids and Adults
Stay out of the stores so you don’t shop
If you can’t control your spending and continue spending money you don’t have, you have to remove the temptation.Â Even something that seems harmless can result in spending money.
Related:Â Fun and Frugal Date Night Ideas
Track the money you are spending
Keep track of your spending by adding up the amounts on your phone. Â That way, you’ll have no surprises when you get to the checkout lane. You can try Shopping Calculator for AndroidÂ or Total-Plus Shopping Calculator on iTunes.
When you start to see that total creep up, you realize how much you are spending. That may help you think twice about that extra box of treats you are tempted to toss into the shopping cart.
Use the three-day rule before you spend a dime
The three-day rule is pretty simple.Â If you see something you want, wait for three days before you buy it.Â Once the third day is up, ask yourself if you still feel it is something you need.
If it is, look at your budget to ensure it works with this month’s spending.Â Then, double check the cash to make sure you have enough to pay for it.Â If both of these work, you can consider buying it.
The funny thing is that most purchases are impulse buys and the three day waiting period helps you realize you don’t need it.Â And had you purchased it, you may even have buyer’s remorse at the three-day mark.
Related:Â The Trick To Make Sure You Never Overspend
Don’t use coupons and skip the sales
Sales are very tempting.Â They lure you in and often result in making purchases you would not do otherwise.Â That is why you nee your list. Stick to it and don’t fall for the sales.
You also need to put away the coupons.Â Well, you can use them, but responsibly.Â If you would not purchase an item at full price, you should never buy it only because there is a coupon.Â A coupon is not a golden ticket to shop.
In addition to this, avoid the clearance aisles and end caps. Â These are money spending traps! Â You walk by, and your eye is drawn the end cap with the big SALE sign in front of it. Â If you don’t need that item, don’t grab it. Â Also, don’t walk by the clearance section. Â It is very easy to pick up items you don’t really need. Â That makes you again spend money you had not planned on.
Instead, shop the sections you need. Â If you need detergent, go to that section and grab your item and then go to the next on your list. Â Don’t wander through the store as you will be more likely to do “cart tossing.” Â This is when you put items in your cart without noticing what you are spending.
I’m not saying not to buy anything on sale.Â Just get the things you need that are on sale this week, or that you will need in the next weeks.Â You probably need spaghetti noodles, but you don’t need a new pair of shoes.
Related:Â The Money Traps You Will Fall For
Never shop without a list
Never shop without a grocery list. Ever. Then, force yourself to stick to it.
Some simple ideas include using a timer to limit how long you can be in the store.Â If you have only 20 minutes to shop, you will be less likely to grab the items you don’t need and stick with those that are on your list.
Another is to challenge yourself to see how fast you can finish your shopping.Â If you have the list and stick to it, you’ll find you spend less time shopping and more time enjoying the things you love.
The best reason to use a list is that you don’t have to worry about forgetting that “one item” you know you need.Â When you force yourself to make a shopping list and stick to it, you’ll always have everything you need on hand for dinner.
Keep emotion out of shopping
One tip is never to shop hungry. Â When you do, your stomach controls what you buy. Â The added benefit is buying the healthy foods you need.
If I am feeling bad about myself, buying something I have been wanting may end up making its way home with me. Spending money to make myself feel better never works.
ThereÂ are many emotions attached to spending. Â You have to identify which one(s) apply to you and find a way to fulfill that need through another method – other than spending money.
Define Needs vs. Wants
There are items we need. Â You need food, but do you need the extra box of cookies? Â Yes, the sweater is really cuteÂ but is it something you need or just something you want. Â Ask yourself Â “is this a need or a want” with each item you buy. Â You’ll soon be on your way to less overspending.
Clean and declutter
When you declutter, you find all of those items you’ve spent money on and no longer need. Â It makes you realize where you are spending. Â You will also recall how clean your closet now is. Do you really want to fill it back up with more stuff?
The added benefit of decluttering is that it keeps your house clean and organized! Â You can find what you need more easily and don’t have so much “stuff” cluttering the house.
Save first, spend later
It is important always to pay yourself first. Â Remember that the amount you have to spend is what is left over after you pay your bills and pay yourself.
You should always tell your money where to go instead of it deciding for you. Â So many do that the opposite and save after they spend. Â If you still save a little, you will quickly build a nice emergency fund and can have less guilt about your spending.
Learn from your mistakes
The most important thing you must do is figure out where you’ve gone wrong in the past.Â Your mistakes will be different from everyone else’s.Â You may shop out of emotion while someone else does out of boredom.
You also need to keep in mind that you will make mistakes.Â There will be months when you fall off the wagon.Â Don’t beat yourself up over it.Â Use it is a chance to learn from them and do what you can to not repeat them again.
Related:Â Â The Mistakes You Will Make When Getting Out of Debt
Gaining control of your spending is possible.Â You just need to have the desire – and the tools – to make it happen.
The post How to Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
The information that credit bureaus collect affects just about every aspect of your life. Whether youâre approved for a credit card, get a good mortgage rate, can rent an apartment or even get a job â they all can hinge to varying degrees on your credit score. So when a credit bureau has something wrong, itâs imperative that you tell them. The three major bureaus â Equifax, Experian and TransUnion â offer online services and prefer that you use their online forms instead of calling. But sometimes you need to talk to a live person. Hereâs how to make contact.
Why Would I Need to Contact a Credit Bureau?
The three big credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies â Equifax, Experian and TransUnion â create credit reports that reflect consumersâ creditworthiness. The reporting agencies are for-profit businesses and sell their reports to other businesses, such as insurers, credit card companies, banks and employers.
These businesses in turn factor in these credit reports when making decisions such as whether to offer you a credit card and at what interest rate. So itâs important to monitor your credit reports and make sure the information on them is correct. If you ever find a mistake, you should contact the credit bureau to correct the information. You may also need to contact to a credit bureau if you think that youâre a victim of credit fraud. That could mean placing a fraud alert on your account or freezing your credit so that no one can open a new line of credit in your name.
Talk to a Real Person at Equifax
Equifax has multiple phone numbers that you can use to speak with a real person. The number that you use will depend on what you need help with. We recommend trying to contact the correct number. If you call the wrong number, they will simply say they cannot help you and then direct you to call another number. You can find all of Equifaxâs contact information on its website, Equifax.com.
If you want to contact Equifax with a general inquiry, you can reach the company via phone at the number 800-525-6285. Just make sure to call between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
Equifax has also been in the news recently because it suffered a large data breach in 2017. If you have questions about whether your information was compromised in the breach, Equifax has a dedicated phone line at 888-548-7878. Again, be sure to call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
The table below has some common reasons why you might want to call Equifax and the number that you should call in order to speak with a representative.
How to Speak With a Real Person at Equifax Reason for Calling Phone Number General inquiries 800-525-6285 Canceling a product or service (Equifax customers) 866-640-2273 Request a copy of your credit report* 866-349-5191 Place a fraud alert on your credit card 800-525-6285 Dispute information in your credit report 866-349-5191 Place, lift or remove a freeze on your credit 888-298-0045 Dedicated phone line for information on the 2017 data breach 888-548-7878
*Donât forget: You can get a free copy of your credit report three times per year.
Talk to a Real Person at Experian
Experian makes it relatively hard to talk to a real person on the phone. The company encourages people to use its website for most things. However, there are three main phone numbers that you should know if you want to talk to someone at Experian.
Call 888-397-3742 if you want to order a credit report or if you have any questions related to fraud and identity theft. The number 888-397-3742-6 (1-888-EXPERIAN) will also work. You can place an immediate fraud/security alert on your credit with this number.
If you have a question about something on a recent credit report (such as incorrect information), you will need to have a copy of the credit report. On the report you will find a 10-digit number. This number is different for each credit report and you will need it for the representative to help with any issues related to your specific report. Once you have that number ready, you can call 714-830-7000 with questions about your report.
If you need help with anything related to your membership account with Experian, you should call the companyâs customer service at 479-343-6239. You will need to call while the Experian office is open in order to speak with someone. The hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Saturday and Sunday.
How to Speak With a Real Person at Experian Reason for Calling Phone Number Buying a credit report,
Placing a fraud alert on your credit file 888-397-3742 or
888-397-37426 (888-EXPERIAN) Question about a recent credit report 714-830-7000 Question about Experian membership account 479-343-6239 Talk to a Real Person at TransUnion
TransUnion has one general support number that you can use to talk to a human for help with your credit report (such as to dispute information, freeze your account, or report fraud), your credit score or any general questions. That number is 833-395-693800.
Note that a human representative is only available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
You will hear an automated service when you first call this number. Press 4 in order to speak with a representative. Then you will need to press 1 if you have a TransUnion File Number or 2 if you do not have a number.
A TransUnion File Number is a unique identification number that you can find in the top right of your TransUnion credit report. You do not need a number to speak with a representative, but you will need it to do anything related specifically to your credit report. For example, the file number is necessary for disputing incorrect information.
If you ever need to buy a credit report or address an issue on your report, you will need to contact a credit bureau. Each of the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, has a website where you can do most things you may need to do. In fact, they prefer that you use online forms instead of calling. But sometimes itâs comforting to speak with a real person who can answer your specific questions.
The first step is figure out what phone number you need. The credit bureaus all have multiple numbers. Not all of the numbers will allow you to solve your specific issue. Of course once you have the right number, you will also need some patience. Hold times can be long, particularly during the coronavirus slow-down. The credit bureaus have also experienced higher phone traffic since the Equifax breach in 2017.
Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly
- Correcting inaccuracies on your credit report by contacting a credit bureau can help to improve your credit score. Another potential way to improve your score is to get another credit card. It will increase your available credit and improve your credit utilization ratio. You can find the best card for you with our credit card tool. Of course, you should only get another card if you can responsibly handle the credit you already have.
- One good piece of credit card advice is always to avoid as many fees as possible. Fees can make it harder for you to keep your spending down. Higher bills, in turn, could be harder for you to pay back in full. Here are 15 credit card fees that you should avoid.
- It can be tempting to keep swiping your credit card, but make a budget and stick to it. A financial advisor can help you create a road map to make sure youâre hitting your goals and not getting into debt. SmartAssetâs free matching tool can help you find a person to work with. It will connect you with up to three advisors in your area.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/Milkos, Â©iStock.com/sturti, Â©iStock.com/fstop123
The post How to Contact a Real Person at a Credit Bureau appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Around 6.1% of employed Americans worked for themselves in 2019, yet the ranks of the self-employed might increase among certain professions more than others. By 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that self-employment will rise by nearly 8%.
Some self-employed professionals experience high pay in addition to increased flexibility. Dentists, for example, are commonly self-employed, yet they earned a median annual wage of $159,200 in 2019. Conversely, appraisers and assessors of real estate, another career where self-employment is common, earned a median annual wage of $57,010 in 2019.
Despite high pay and job security in some industries, thereâs one area where self-employed workers can struggle â qualifying for credit. When you work for yourself, you might have to jump through additional hoops and provide a longer work history to get approved for a mortgage, take out a car loan, or qualify for another line of credit you need.
Why Being Self-Employed Matters to Creditors
Hereâs the good news: Being self-employed doesn’t directly affect your credit score. Some lenders, however, might be leery about extending credit to self-employed applicants, particularly if youâve been self-employed for a short time.
When applying for a mortgage or another type of loan, lenders consider the following criteria:
- Your income
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Credit score
- Employment status
Generally speaking, lenders will confirm your income by looking at pay stubs and tax returns you submit. They can check your credit score with the credit bureaus by placing a hard inquiry on your credit report, and can confirm your debt-to-income ratio by comparing your income to the debt you currently owe. Lenders can also check to see what assets you have, either by receiving copies of your bank statements or other proof of assets.
The final factor â your employment status â can be more difficult for lenders to gauge if youâre self-employed, and managing multiple clients or jobs. After all, bringing in unpredictable streams of income from multiple sources is considerably different than earning a single paycheck from one employer who pays you a salary or a set hourly rate. If your income fluctuates or your self-employment income is seasonal, this might be considered less stable and slightly risky for lenders.
That said, being honest about your employment and other information when you apply for a loan will work out better for you overall. Most lenders will ask the status of your employment in your loan application; however, your self-employed status could already be listed with the credit bureaus. Either way, being dishonest on a credit application is a surefire way to make sure youâre denied.
Extra Steps to Get Approved for Self-Employed Workers
When you apply for a mortgage and youâre self-employed, you typically have to provide more proof of a reliable income source than the average person. Lenders are looking for proof of income stability, the location and nature of your work, the strength of your business, and the long-term viability of your business.
To prove your self-employed status wonât hurt your ability to repay your loan, youâll have to supply the following additional information:
- Two years of personal tax returns
- Two years of business tax returns
- Documentation of your self-employed status, including a client list if asked
- Documentation of your business status, including business insurance or a business license
Applying for another line of credit, like a credit card or a car loan, is considerably less intensive than applying for a mortgage â this is true whether youâre self-employed or not.
Most other types of credit require you to fill out a loan application that includes your personal information, your Social Security number, information on other debt you have like a housing payment, and details on your employment status. If your credit score and income is high enough, you might get approved for other types of credit without jumping through any additional hoops.
10 Ways the Self-Employed Can Get Credit
If you work for yourself and want to make sure you qualify for the credit you need, there are plenty of steps you can take to set yourself up for success. Consider making the following moves right away.
1. Know Where Your Credit Stands
You canât work on your credit if you donât even know where you stand. To start the process, you should absolutely check your credit score to see whether it needs work. Fortunately, there are a few ways to check your FICO credit score online and for free.
2. Apply With a Cosigner
If your credit score or income are insufficient to qualify for credit on your own, you can also apply for a loan with a cosigner. With a cosigner, you get the benefit of relying on their strong credit score and positive credit history to boost your chances of approval. If you choose this option, however, keep in mind that your cosigner is jointly responsible for repaying the loan, if you default.
3. Go Straight to Your Local Bank or Credit Union
If you have a long-standing relationship with a credit union or a local bank, it already has a general understanding of how you manage money. With this trust established, it might be willing to extend you a line of credit when other lenders wonât.
This is especially true if youâve had a deposit account relationship with the institution for several years at minimum. Either way, itâs always a good idea to check with your existing bank or credit union when applying for a mortgage, a car loan, or another line of credit.
4. Lower Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is an important factor lenders consider when you apply for a mortgage or another type of loan. This factor represents the amount of debt you have compared to your income, and itâs represented as a percentage.
If you have a gross income of $6,000 per month and you have fixed expenses of $3,000 per month, for example, then your DTI ratio is 50%.
A DTI ratio thatâs too high might make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage or another line of credit when youâre self-employed. For mortgage qualifications, most lenders prefer to loan money to consumers with a DTI ratio of 43% or lower.
5. Check Your Credit Report for Errors
To keep your credit in the best shape possible, check your credit reports, regularly. You can request your credit reports from all three credit bureaus once every 12 months, for free, at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you find errors on your credit report, take steps to dispute them right away. Correcting errors on your report can give your score the noticeable boost it needs.
6. Wait Until Youâve Built Self-Employed Income
You typically need two years of tax returns as a self-employed person to qualify for a mortgage, and you might not be able to qualify at all until you reach this threshold. For other types of credit, it can definitely help to wait until youâve earned self-employment income for at least six months before you apply.
7. Separate Business and Personal Funds
Keeping personal and business funds separate is helpful when filing your taxes, but it can also help you lessen your liability for certain debt.
For example, letâs say that you have a large amount of personal debt. If your business is structured as a corporation or LLC and you need a business loan, separating your business funds from your personal funds might make your loan application look more favorable to lenders.
As a separate issue, start building your business credit score, which is separate from your personal credit score, early on. Setting up business bank accounts and signing up for a business credit card can help you manage both buckets of your money, separately.
8. Grow Your Savings Fund
Having more liquid assets is a good sign from a lenderâs perspective, so strive to build up your savings account and your investments. For example, open a high-yield savings account and save three to six months of expenses as an emergency fund.
You can also open a brokerage account and start investing on a regular basis. Either strategy will help you build up your assets, which shows lenders you have a better chance of repaying your loan despite an irregular income.
9. Provide a Larger Down Payment
Some lenders have tightened up mortgage qualification requirements, and some are even requiring a 20% down payment for home loans. Youâll also have a better chance to secure an auto loan with the best rates and terms with more money down, especially for new cars that depreciate rapidly.
Aim for 20% down on a home or a car that youâre buying. As a bonus, having a 20% down payment for your home purchase helps you avoid paying private mortgage insurance.
10. Get a Secured Loan or Credit Card
Donât forget the steps you can take to build credit now, if your credit profile is thin or youâve made mistakes in the past. One way to do this is applying for a secured credit card or a secured loan, both of which require collateral for you to get started.
The point of a secured credit card or loan is getting the chance to build your credit score and prove your creditworthiness as a self-employed worker, when you canât get approved for unsecured credit. After making sufficient on-time payments toward the secured card or loan, your credit score will increase, you can upgrade to an unsecured alternative and get your deposit or collateral back.
The Bottom Line
If youâre self-employed and worried that your work status will hurt your chances at qualifying for credit, you shouldnât be. Instead, focus your time and energy on creating a reliable self-employment income stream and building your credit score.
Once your business is established and youâve been self-employed for several years, your work status wonât matter as heavily. Keep your income high, your DTI low, and a positive credit record, youâll have a better chance of getting approved for credit.
The post Why Itâs Harder to Get Credit When Youâre Self-Employed appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
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Making the leap from being a renter to becoming a homeowner is a process that includes taking stock of your financial situation and determining whether you’re ready for such a massive responsibility. For most people, the primary question is affordability. Do you have enough cash in the bank to fund a down payment, or do you have a credit score high enough to qualify you for a home loan? But there are other considerations, tooâand plenty of misconceptions and myths that could keep you from making that first step.
Below, our experts weigh in on why some situations that may seem like roadblocks are actually not as daunting as they appear.
1. Buying a home means heavy debt
Some may argue that continuing to rent can spare you from taking on heavy debt. But owning a house offers advantages.
âBuying a home and using a typical loan would be spread out over 20 to 30 years. But if you can make one extra payment a year or make bimonthly payments instead, you can shed up to seven years from that long-term loan,â says Jesse McManus, a real estate agent for Big Block Realty in San Diego, CA.
Plus, as you pay your mortgage, you gain equity in the home and create an asset that can be used when needed, such as paying off debt or even buying a second home.
âCurrently, mortgage interests rates are at their lowest point in history, so … it’s a great time to borrow money,â McManus says.
2. At least a 20% down payment is needed to buy a home
âContrary to popular belief, a 20% down payment is not required to purchase a home,” says Natalie Klinefelter, broker/owner of the Legacy Real Estate Co. in San Diego, CA. “There are several low down payment options available to all types of buyers.â
These are as low as 0% down for Veterans Affairs loans to 5% for conventional loans.
One of the main reasons buyers assume they must put down 20% is that without a 20% down payment, buyers typically face private mortgage insuranceÂ payments that add to the monthly loan payment.
âThe good news is once 20% equity is reached in a home, the buyer can eliminate PMI. This is usually accomplished by refinancing their loan, ultimately lowering their original payment that included PMI,â says Klinefelter. âSelecting the right loan type for a buyerâs needs and the property condition is essential before purchasing a home.â
Watch: 5 Things First-Time Home Buyers Must Know
3. Your credit score needs to be perfect
Having a credit score at or above 660 looks great to mortgage lenders, but if yours is lagging, thereâs still hope.
âCredit score and history play a significant role in a buyerâs ability to obtain a home loan, but it doesn’t mean a buyer needs squeaky-clean credit. There are many loan solutions for buyers who have a lower than the ideal credit score,â says Klinefelter.
She says government-backed loans insured by the Federal Housing AdministrationÂ have lower credit and income requirements than most conventional loans.
âA lower down payment is also a benefit of FHA loans. Lenders often work with home buyers upfront to discuss how to improve their credit to obtain a loan most suitable for their needs and financial situation,â says Klinefelter.
McManus says buyers building credit can also use a home loan to bolster their scores and create a foundation for future borrowing and creditworthiness.
4. Now is a bad time to buy
Buying a home at the right timeâduring a buyer’s market or when interest rates are lowâis considered a smart money move. But don’t let the fear of buying at the “wrong time” stop you from moving forward. If you feel like you’ve found a good deal, experts say there is truly no bad time to buy a home.
âThe famous saying in real estate is ‘I donât have a crystal ball,’ meaning no one can predict exactly where the market will be at a given time. If a buyer stays within their means and has a financial contingency plan in place if the market adjusts over time, it is the right time to buy,â says Klinefelter.
5. Youâll be stuck and canât relocate
Some people may be hesitant to buy because it means staying put in the same location.
âI always advise my clients that they should plan to stay in a newly purchased home for a minimum of three years,” says McManus. “You can ride out most market swings if they happen, and it also gives you a sense of connection to your new space.”
In a healthy market, McManus says homeowners will likely be able to sell the home within a year or two if they need to move, or they can consider renting out the property.
âThere is always a way out of a real estate asset; knowing how and when to exit is the key,â says Klinefelter.
The post 5 Myths About Transitioning From Renter to Homeowner appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
Stephen and David St. Russell, self-taught renovation and fixer-upper experts, are sharing their advice for homebuyers who are looking to explore buying a home that needs some extra TLC.
The post So You Want to Buy a Fixer-Upper: Hereâs What You Need to Know appeared first on Homes.com.
After you’ve successfully put in an offer for your dream home and set a date for closing, you’ve come to the final steps of your home buying journey. However aside from getting the keys, you’ll want to be prepared for the additional costs, and steps that will be required for a successful home purchase.
The Preparing For Closing Day guide contains information, tips, and more about what to expect on the big day. The guide will also include a checklist of what to prepare and an example of how to calculate the funds needed for closing.
To learn more about how you can best prepare for closing day, get our free buyer’s guide here.
Pre-Closing Day Checklist
To ensure a smooth process for your home transaction, you’ll still have a few steps to go through before you get your keys. Here are 6 steps to check off your list before closing day:
- Review your contract
- Complete a final walkthrough
- Meet with your lawyer
- Purchase home insurance
- Know how much cash is required at closing
- Secure cash required for closing
Cash Required At Closing
Understanding the costs that will be required at closing day is important to know even before you start your home search. Not only will you be prepared for what to expect, but this can help you with budgeting your costs.
Some examples of costs to include in your calculation:
- Down payment
- Title insurance
- Legal fees
- Land transfer tax
Statement of Adjustments
Another important document is your statement of adjustments, which will display any credits to both the buyer or seller as well as the final amount payable by the buyer on closing day. You can expect the following to be listed in the statement:
- Purchase price
- Your deposit
- Prepaid property taxes, utilities or fuel
- Prepaid rents
- Appraisal fee
- Land survey fee
For a sample calculation of cash required at closing, download our Preparing For Closing Day guide here.
The post How to Prepare For Closing Day [Free Downloadable PDF] appeared first on Zoocasa Blog.
The post 9 Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Many of you have a spring cleaning ritual. Â It is the time of the year when you wash the windows, air out the bedding and declutter. Â However, have you ever thought about checking your budget?
That may sound crazy, but it is really is the perfect time of the year to really take a good look at your budget. Â We’ve got some ideas of what to do to spring clean your very own budget!
Before you get started, make sure you have a workable budget with our free budget printable!
SPRING CLEANING YOUR BUDGET
1. Check your envelopes
Now would be a good time to make sure that your envelopes have the right amount allocated to them. Â Take a look at your spending and determine if you need to make adjustments (up or down). Â This way, your envelopes contain the right amount of cash in them. Even if you don’t use cash, you should do this with your virtual envelope system as well.
You will also need to make sure that you don’t need to add new envelopes. Â Perhaps you find that you always go to your dining outÂ envelope to get money for family fun. Â Why not make a separate envelope JUST for family fun?Â That way,Â have envelopes with a designated task and aren’t taking from one to fund another.
Read more:Â Why you must use a cash envelope system
2. Clean up your bills
Take a look at your spending. Are you paying for things you don’t need? Sometimes, we get so used to paying for things that we just ignore them and don’t think much about it.
For instance, you might not be ready to cut cable completely. Â However, are you paying for channels you really don’t watch? Â Go through all of your bills and make sure you aren’t wasting money on things you don’t really use.
3. Go looking for discounts
The idea of your budget is to make it give away as little of your money as possible — and rightfully so. Â Look back on your spending. Â There may be items which may offer you a discount.
Believe it or not, there are many utilities which will offer discounts to customers. Â You just have to know how to do it. You can take the time to research what others pay and call each company and try to negotiate your rates.
Or, if you don’t want to do this yourself, you can try a service such asÂ BillCutterz. Â This is a really cool site because they take your bills and negotiate for you. Â The way you pay them is simple. Â If they find a discount for you, the cost is split between them. So, if you would save $10 a month, they get $5 of that sent to them.
This is a great option for someone who wants to cut bills but just doesn’t have the time to do it. Learn more about BillCutterz HERE.
Read More: Â How you can easily lower your utility costs
4. Establish New Goals
GoalsÂ are a great tool that we often use in many areas of life, but what about budgeting? Â The truth is, you might already be doing it and not realize it.
Goals could be as simple as paying down that one credit card. It might be going on a dream vacation. Â Perhaps it is buying the car without a loan or even paying for the first year of college tuition.
Whatever your goal, make sure you write it down. Â That instantly solidifies the goal and then, you can place it somewhere you see it. Â Every. Single. Day.
The more you see the goal, the more you remember what you want to achieve and might recall that when considering an impulse purchase.
5. Â Lower your grocery bill
Paying less for your groceries can significantly impact your budget. I learned that Aldi was an great place to shop and it really slashed my grocery budget! Â By using this store to get most of our food, I was able to drop our grocery spending by more than $200 a month!
If Aldi is not an option, take the time to learn how to shop the sales and to use coupons to help lower the amount you spend on food for your family.
Read more:Â How to save at the grocery store without clipping coupons
6. Â Transfer credit cards to lower rates
Now is the perfect time to look into getting a card with a 0% interest rate. Â Transfer your balances to the new card to eliminate paying interest on your balance, which might help you pay it down much more quickly.
The only caution is to watch the introductory period. Â You need to pay it in full or transfer it again before the period lapses.Â Credit.com is an excellent resource to help you determine which card is the best option for you.
7. Lower your cell phone bill
Most people think that they are stuck paying whatever their wireless provider tells them to pay. Â That is true — for the most part. However, you might be able to negotiate a lower rate or may want to even consider changing providers completely
Read more: Â Simple Tricks to Help You Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
8. Automate your savings
If actually saving money is difficult for you, you are not alone. Many people do not have the discipline needed to save money every month. Â That is where automation is helpful.
You can see if your employer allows for your check to be direct deposited into multiple accounts. If so, have them deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into savings. Â If that is not an option, set up an automated transfer out of your checking account into your savings account each month.
Once you do that, you will need to adjust the spending in your budget. Â Even saving just $25 a paycheck is better than nothing and you’ll be surprised at how much you do not miss the money.
Read more: Why you must automate your savings
9. Review your insurance
Take a good look at not only your auto insuranceÂ but also your homeowner’s and life insurance.
Do some comparison shopping to make sure you are getting a good rate. Â If your insurance is from different providers, check to see if any of them offer a bundle discount if you have all of them under one roof.
If you’ve built up your emergency fund, you might even be able to just raise the deductible and lower your monthly out of pocket cost and actually save more than the deductible costs. Â Simply increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 could save you a LOT of money on your monthly costs.
In addition, if you do not yet have life insurance, this is the time of the year to consider purchasing it. Â It isn’t for you – it is for your family.
Read more:Â Why You Need Life Insurance
Taking the time to review your budget is wise, but really looking at it is something we don’t always do. Â Just schedule this each year with your spring cleaning schedule and you’ll never forget to do it again!
The post 9 Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.