Author Archives: Norm Schriever
10 Things a good credit score can get you.
You know what else is just a number? Your bank balance, the amount you owe in debt, how much income you earn, and even at what age you’ll retire!
In fact, your credit score is more important than ever for nearly every aspect of your finances.
To prove it, we’ll cover ten things that you’ll get with a good credit score:
So, you finally want to achieve the American Dream by owning your own home? Well, if you’re like most people, you’ll need to obtain a mortgage to buy that home, and a good credit score will vastly help you qualify. In fact, the higher your score, the more loan options will be available to you and the lower your interest rate generally will be. The good news is that there are loans, like those guaranteed by the FHA, that can help lower-credit borrowers, but a high FICO will definitely come in handy.
2. Lower credit card interest rates
The average credit card interest rate in the U.S. is now around 14.99%, but that climbs to a lofty 24.9% when we look at credit card holders with lower credit scores. We’re also spending a LOT on our credit cards again, as the U.S. balance is now approaching $1 trillion! Increase your credit score and you’ll start saving significant money on your credit cards, almost immediately.
3. Business, personal, school.
Are you starting a business? Taking out a personal loan from the bank? Or even applying for student loans (which is now higher than both credit card and auto debt in the U.S.)? If so, a great credit score will be a huge help along the way.
Even if you can’t afford to buy your own home, you’ll have to live somewhere, and that means renting. As part of the initial application, you better believe that landlords check credit score these days for prospective tenants.
5. Lower insurance premiums
A lot of people don’t realize this, but insurance carriers actually cross reference credit scores of their policyholders (along with plenty of other factors) and assign higher premiums to those with low scores.
6. A better budget
If your credit score could magically go from 550 to 750 (and it CAN – it’s just not magic), you’d realize some incredible savings across most line items on your monthly budget. Add it all up and that savings could come to $100, $250, or even $500 a month!
7. Favorable utility and cell phones
Yes, even your utility providers check your credit score now, as they look to avert defaults. If you’ve walked into a cell phone store and asked to open an account then you know that the AT&T, Verizon, and others check credit, too.
8. More savings + less debt
With that new and improved budget, things are finally turning around for you financially. With extra disposable income every month, you can now afford to put some aside for savings every month and, most importantly, start paying down your debt. That’s when you REALLY start realizing more money in your pocket.
9. Dream job
Wait, a good credit score can get me a job? Well, not necessarily, but a bad credit score can certainly ruin your chance of landing your dream position! In fact, more than half of all employers do credit checks on their applicants these days and some, like in financial services, definitely will want a clean credit history and solid score before inking you to a new employment contract.
10. Financial security
Lower credit card rates, becoming a homeowner, paying off debt, saving for emergencies, and landing a new job all mean one thing: you’ve finally broken through the frustration, hard times, and penny-pinching that your low credit score brought. Studies show that consumers with good credit scores have a net worth that’s roughly 12-times that of low-scorers, and that’s no accident!
Are you ready to get these ten things a good credit score will bring you? We’re prepared to help with a free credit report and consultation, so contact us today!
What we make. Examining incomes for a wide range of average Americans.
What does the average person earn at his or her job every year?
That question is easy to answer, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average wage for working adults in America as of (Q4 2017) is $857 per week or $44,564 annually.
However, while that is just an average (mean), our paychecks vary widely on a whole lot of factors—aside from our occupation. For instance, men make $49,192 on average, which women earn only $39.888, or just 81.3% of their male counterparts.
It’s common sense that age factors into what we earn, too, and the data proves that, with men 55 to 64 achieving the highest annual earnings ($58,760), while women topped out $43,420 from ages 45 to 54. It also makes sense that there’s a huge correlation between education levels and income. College graduates with at least a Bachelor’s Degree earn an average of $66,456 annually (it literally pays to stay in school!), while those with a Master’s Degree or higher earn a lofty $77,324 on average.
As could be expected, people working white collar jobs make more, as professional, management, and related occupations bring home $64,200 annually, compared to an average of just $28,028 for service occupations.
Now, let’s run down the best, the worst, and some other notable occupations based on their corresponding salaries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the 25 highest paying jobs in America:
Median salary: $269,600
Median salary: $252,910
3. Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Median salary: $234,310
4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Median salary: $232,870
Median salary: $228,780
Median salary: $201,840
Median salary: $200,220
Median salary: $184,240
Median salary: $173,860
Median salary: $168,140
11. Nurse Anesthetist
Median salary: $164,030
12. Petroleum Engineer
Median salary: $147,030
13. IT Manager
Median salary: $145,740
14. Marketing Manager
Median salary: $144,140
Median salary: $144,110
Median salary: $139,880
17. Financial Manager
Median salary: $139,720
18. Sales Manager
Median salary: $135,090
19. Financial Advisor
Mean salary: $123,100
20. Business Operations Manager
Median salary: $122,090
Median salary: $120,270
Median salary: $117,580
Median salary: $114,120
24. Political Scientist
Median salary: $112,250
25. Medical and Health Services Manager
Median salary: $109,370
Now, here are some notoriously low-paying jobs in the United States:
- Gaming Dealers $21,990
- Animal Caretakers $31,240
- Cooks $16,000 – $24,000
- Hotel clerks $21,500
- Bank teller $24,940
- Janitor $24,850
- Restaurant host, hostess, waiter or waitress $24,410
- Farmworkers and laborers $10.52 per hour and an average yearly salary as low as $25,570
- Retail cashiers $25,827 to $32,732.
- Personal and home care aides $22,272 to $26,921.
- House cleaners/maids $23,469.
- Motion picture projectionist $18,260.
- Manicurists and Pedicurists $26,400
- Childcare workers $28,090.
- Fast food workers (salaried or full-time) $20,257
- Dishwasher $9.10/hour or $18, 930
- Walmart worker $8.86/hour or $17,860
These jobs pay near the national average:
- Attorney $51,000
- Elementary school teacher $35,630 – $83,160. (Median $53,400)
- Event Planner $45,810
- Flight attendants $43,350
- Child, family, and school social workers $43,540
- Real estate agent $39,000
- Administrative assistant $24,000 to $50,000 (Median $32,502)
What trades pay:
- Heat, AC, and refrigeration mechanics and installers $43,670
- Construction worker $32,000
- Plumber or electrician $39,000
The highest-paying private sector jobs in America:
- Chief executives officers (CEO’s) $15.6 million (but their bonuses commonly reach millions or even tens of millions of dollars!) By the way, that’s 271 times more than the average American worker!
- Average NBA basketball player salary $7.15 million
- Average MLB baseball player salary $4.47 million
- Average NFL football salary $2.7 million
What government employees and civil servants earn:
- State worker $49,240
- Policeman $48,000
- Fireman $43,000
- Garbage collector $43,000
- Average U.S. Army private up to sergeant $17,892 to $27,814
- Governor $70,000-$187,256
- Senator $193,400
- Congressman $174,000
- United States President $400,000
50 Traits to help you achieve success, wealth, and financial independence. (Part 1)
What separates the most successful and wealthy people from the average person isn’t natural talent. They don’t have some secret the rest of us don’t have access to, nor are they luckier than we are. In fact, there are specific fundamental core concepts that just about every ultra-successful or wealthy person has in common. (Yes, maintaining an excellent credit score is definitely one of them!)
It turns out, if you want to be well-off, it doesn’t matter where you came from, how much money your parents had, or what your present circumstances are. Maybe your credit score is 500 and you’re saddled with debt, but you set your mind to becoming debt free? Or, you’re a renter but want to buy a home because you’re tired of overpaying to make your landlord rich. It’s possible that your finances are well under control, but you’d like to build a better financial future for your family.
No matter what your version of “success” or “wealth” is, we all have to walk the same path to get there – which means incorporating these 50 habits to achieve success, wealth, and financial independence:
1. Pay off bad debt.
Successful people understand that paying interest is a great way to make someone else rich – and keep struggling, yourself. In fact, financially comfortable people always pay off credit cards, car loans, small installment loans as fast as they can, and don’t carry personal debt on a month-to-month basis. While they often pay off their mortgages as well, they distinguish between “good debt” and “bad debt.”
2. Plan for rainy days.
Financially aware people may take risks, but they definitely are pragmatic as well, planning and preparing for the unforeseen. They keep a good amount of savings, make sure they are well insured and protected, and generally minimize liability in every aspect of their lives.
3. Automate savings.
Whatever they earn, successful people break off a tiny piece and stash it, deducting it directly from each paycheck. This is what they mean by “pay yourself first,” as it gives them a solid foundation to invest and grow before they ever touch the rest of the funds for basics or play.
4. Invest young.
Even in their 20’s or sometimes their teens, these folks understand the compound principle of money. By putting money into 401k’s, Roth IRA’s and the like early, they benefit from returns and a windfall as they get closer to retirement.
5. Go the extra mile.
People who achieve big things in life invest extra effort, thought, and creativity into everything they do, no matter how big or small.
When you look at those who achieve excellence at anything from art to sports to neuroscience, the typical pattern is that that didn’t spend a ton of time partying or playing video games. Any classically trained musician will tell you that they didn’t attend a lot of social functions so that they could practice.
7. Log long hours.
Successful people got the hard work out of the way early, not looking for shortcuts or get-rich-quick schemes. By doing, they learned to refine their work, the way a swimmer refines their stroke to maximize the outcome and minimize the effort.
Instead of getting hung up on the minutiae of the process, they’re constantly focused on the target, asking questions like: how can I improve? What is lacking or holding me back? There is a built-in evaluation of every project they undertake.
People who accomplish great things in life are confident but not cocky, have a good sense of their own strengths and weaknesses, and have a high self-worth, while remaining humble.
Some of the most unlikely experiences give rise to the best ideas. Great thinkers get outside their bubble and open themselves up with a relentless curiosity about the world.
They have specific training, knowledge, skills, and talents. Instead of just being generalists, high achievers invest in the education or training to become the best at one single thing, while adding on to their core skill. For example, professional athletes train constantly, but they also educate themselves on nutrition, concentration, and responsiveness.
There is no substitute for reading and ultra-achievers read non-stop. Studies show that 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more every day (for education or career reasons – not romance novels!). Reading is part of that core skill set, no matter the discipline.
13. Organization and goal setting.
81% of wealthy and successful people scratch things off a daily To Do list compared to only 19% of working class people. Just the act of writing down goals is very powerful, allowing the mind to prioritize and receive a jolt of satisfaction from completing even simple tasks.
14. Wise use of time.
Successful people use their downtime to inspire their projects and explore other ways of thinking. Since time is our greatest asset, successful people don’t spend theirs on empty entertainment. In fact, 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day, while 23% of poor people do, and only 6% of wealthy watch reality TV shows vs. 78% of poor.
Setting tangible goals with concrete timetables and planning the action steps to achieve them is crucial to success. Being able to break down big goals into small digestible steps is key, along with a consistent reevaluation of their plan based on changing circumstances. If we don’t, then we aren’t experiencing progress and our projects quickly lose momentum.
16. Risk and a relationship to failure.
Failure is not the enemy of successful people – it’s a necessary instrument of growth. In fact, if they don’t go through enough failure in their lives, they understand they’re not taking enough risks.
17. Optimism bias.
Successful people don’t wait around for luck to bless them –create their own opportunities with hard work, smart planning, and confidence in their efforts. In fact, 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity instead of luck, while only 4% of poor believe the same. Furthermore, 76% of affluent people attribute negative outcomes to bad “luck” vs. only 9% of the poor.
People who own their actions good and bad, and exhibit accountability for their actions tend to draw quality people around them. They never try to pass the buck or dodge blame – this goes back to that self-awareness piece.
19. Flexible thinking.
Agility takes practice, but it’s a necessary skill. Successful people have firm values but flexible thinking, adjusting their sails depending on how the wind blows.
20. Create vs. consume.
Instead of just amassing and worshipping material things, successful people are marked by their contributions, whether it’s a new business, building a house, or forming a non-profit. Creation is one of the processes held in highest esteem by high achievers.
21. Presence of mind.
The key to success (and happiness) is to always be fully present in the moment. That goes for work as well as play.
Mega high achievers dare to dream about the unattainable…then they attain it! In fact, 80% of wealthy and successful people are focused on a singular goal – and never take their eye off the ball.
“Fall seven times, get up eight,” as the old saying goes. You hear great minds talk about setbacks and disappointments, but they understand that their success is earned by bouncing back.
24. Dissatisfaction with the status quo’.
It’s really about developing a vision rather than accepting mediocrity. Achievement is about reaching higher.
25. Singular focus.
Multi-tasking is a myth that amounts to “do everything badly.” The human brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time. Successful people know this and don’t try to juggle – work in immersed short bursts of concerted effort.
Look for part two coming soon with 25 more traits of wealth and success!
Another 10 facts about credit scores, credit reporting, and debt.
That’s because your credit score impacts so much in your life these days, from rent and homeownership to credit card approvals, interest rates on student and auto loans to even employment. But too often, we’re still in the dark when it comes to credit scores, credit reporting, and general financial knowledge about debt management.
As the nation’s leader in credit repair solutions, Nationwide Credit Clearing is committed to helping educate you about these important topics. This is part three of our ongoing series as we count up to 50 things you didn’t know about credit score, credit reporting, and debt.
Look for part one and part two here and contact us if you have any questions or credit issues at all!
1. A survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) discovered that the majority of consumers (just over 50%) had no clue that their credit scores can be checked and monitored by anyone other than credit bureaus. Only 53% of respondents knew that electric utilities checked credit scores and only 68% knew that home insurers, cell phone companies, and landlords regularly do the same.
2. However, even you may be shocked to hear that 90% of home and auto insurance companies check credit scores to help determine your coverage options and also what premiums you’ll pay.
3. A 2016 survey conducted by VantageScore found that only 32% of Americans (less than one-third) had received a copy of their free credit report within the last year, and 16% hadn’t even received a free report within the last three years.
4. Not to pick on college students, but they still have a lot to learn – about their classroom subjects as well as about credit scoring. In fact, a study by Equifax found that only 45% of college kids have any idea what their credit score is! It seems the majority of college students check their credit when applying for a credit card (41%), a new debit card or bank loan (33%) compared to only 4% who request and receive a paid copy.
5. Not only is credit score a crucial factor when you want to apply for a new loan or a mortgage, but employers are screening their potential employees for credit score like never before. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 unemployed Americans have been subjected to a credit score check when they applied for a job, and 1 in 10 has been denied a job because of a bad score or something on their credit report!
6. Adding to the credit score confusion, 45% of respondents think that age is a factor in credit scoring, and 38% believe marital status plays into their credit score. (Do they believe single or married people get a score bump?)
7. On the other end of the spectrum, about 26 million people – or 14% of the adult U.S. population – has no credit score at all, called “credit invisible.” Some of them are immigrants who haven’t had the chance to establish credit lines in the U.S., while others are from low-income or unstable environments and never have taken out a credit card or loan.
8. We all know the Big Four credit card companies now (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Amex), but the first ever credit card that allowed a member to purchase anything they’d like and then pay it back over time was called BankAmericard. Issued in 1958, they changed their name to the more-familiar “Visa” in 1977.
In 1966, the Interbank Card Association bought the rights to “Master Charge” from the California Bank Association, which they renamed “MasterCard” in 1979.
9. Americans may be buying new cars, homes, and fancy electronics, but how are we paying for everything? Too often, the answer is with debt. In fact, 52% of Americans spend more money than they earn every single month, and 21% have regular monthly bills that are more than their take-home pay! 1 in 4 Americans have more debt than savings, and the average American spends $1.33 for every dollar they earn.
10. The American Bankers Association found that 44% of Americans surveyed thought that credit scores and credit reports were the exact same thing! That’s probably why a study by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) revealed that a significant portion of consumers thought that they didn’t need to know their credit score because they already had a copy of their credit report.
Online fraud is one of the fastest growing forms of crime, reaching epidemic proportions in a nexus of technology and cruel anonymity that defies international borders. The highest instance of fraud attempts is now aimed at businesses, violating their often-weak or nonexistent firewalls to access customer financial data, and using it with impunity.
The homebuying and mortgage process starts with your credit score.
Homeownership rates are near modern-era lows, but it’s not because people don’t want to buy. But surveys reveal that coming up with a down payment, qualifying for the mortgage, too much debt, and even credit score are holding them back from homeownership.
In fact, the majority of people who are planning to buy a house in the next 12 to 18 months are pretty confused about what credit score they need, and how to improve their score. However, this national survey found that only 45 percent of potential home buyers really understand what their credit score is measuring – their responsible management of debt and risk of defaulting on new loans.
Likewise, less than 50 percent of respondents could identify what their credit score affects in the mortgage process (such as interest rates, program guidelines, and the amount they qualify for.)
Their lack of clarity can actually hurt their score, further delaying or even canceling their plans to buy a home. For instance, 33 percent of consumers polled think that increasing income will help their credit score, and 28 percent believe that closing old accounts will do the same (not the case).
Even more concerning is that they’re unsure of where to even start with the knowledge, actions, and assistance to ready their credit for a home purchase. Only 22% of people polled thought that they should check their credit report in the three months leading up to their mortgage application!
Of course, when people start the process of buying a home, there are a lot of things to focus on: which neighborhood they want to live in, finding the perfect house, getting approved for a mortgage at a great interest rate, and then the all-consuming process of packing and moving. But before any of that happens, there is one more item that should lead off their checklist: taking care of their credit score.
So, keeping your credit score up to par has some very tangible benefits during the home buying process:
• Lower interest rates,
• A greater variety of loan programs available,
• Qualify for loans with less money down,
• Your offer on a house will be seen as more favorable if you have a high credit score, giving you more leverage. During multiple offer situations and bidding wars, the seller sometimes requests additional documentation like proof of the buyer’s credit score and funds.
• But, of course, saving money when you make your mortgage payment every month is the real benefit. Even a credit score increase of a few points may help you qualify for a lower interest rate, adding up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of your loan.
Consider these three scenarios, where three consumers who are buying a $400,000 home, with a $320,000 mortgage, qualify for interest rates of 4%, 4.5%, and 5%, respectively. Please note this is just an illustration for educational purposes.
Interest Rate: 4%
Monthly Payment: $1,527
Total of 360 Payments: $549,982.42
Total Interest Paid: $229,982.42
Interest Rate: 4.5%
Monthly Payment: $1,621
Total of 360 Payments: $583,701.48
Total Interest Paid: $263,701.48
Interest Rate: 5%
Monthly Payment: $1,717
Total of 360 Payments: $618,418.51
Total Interest Paid: $298,418.51
That means if your credit score was top notch and you qualified for a 4% interest rate (hypothetically), you’d save $190 a month compared to the 5%, and $94 compared to the 4.5% loan. That sounds nice, but doesn’t seem like big money, right?
But when you compare the long-term savings, the person with the 4% loan saves $68,418 in total payments over the life of the loan compared to the 5% loan, and $33,719 compared to the 4.5%
That’s some HUGE savings for just a very small interest rate difference. (For even more information how a good credit score will save you money, read this.
So, how do you make sure your credit score is ready for the home buying process? Here are some tips to make sure your credit score will be as high as possible when you’re ready to buy a home:
1. Always pay on time.
According to FICO, 96% of people with a FICO score of 785 or greater have no late payments on their credit reports, so be one of those people who have a spotless payment history if you want the perfect FICO. Since payment history is 35% of FICO’s scoring model, paying on time is crucial.
2. Check your credit report periodically.
It’s important to make sure that there are no errors on your credit file and everything is in order. These days, you also need to make sure that your identity hasn’t been stolen or compromised, which affects up to 1 in 8 Americans every year.
3. Spend less and pay down your balances.
FICO calculates a significant portion of your score by your credit utilization ratio – how much debt you keep to how much your total available balances are. A survey of those who had the top scores revealed their average credit card balances relative to their limits was just 7%.
FICO calculates 30% of their scoring model by the overall money you owe and how close you are to the limits on your credit cards and revolving debt, so low balances, and healthy ratios are the key to a top score.
4. Keep a good mix of credit.
Consumers with FICO scores above 760 have, on average, six accounts that are currently “paid as agreed” and an average of 3 accounts with a balance.
5. Keep well-seasoned accounts.
Most super scorers also have, on average, an account that’s 19 years old. The average age of their accounts is between 6 and 12 years old and they opened their most recent account 27 months ago or more. 15% of FICO’s scoring is calculated by the credit history.
6. Start early.
Don’t wait until you’re ready to start looking at houses or apply for a mortgage to start working on your credit. Get a copy of your credit report from Nationwide Credit Clearing six months before you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. That will give you plenty of time to pay down debt, close unwanted accounts, or dispute errors and inaccuracies in order to maximize your score – as well as working with Nationwide Credit Clearing to repair your score.
7. Do’s and Dont’s during the home buying process.
It’s important not to make big changes during the mortgage process, as it may trigger a red flag for lenders, who are trying to make decisions based on a static snapshot of your finances. Avoid big purchases on credit, moving large sums of money to and from bank accounts, and applying for any new credit or closing existing accounts.
8. Consider getting help.
Before you even sit down with a mortgage broker or take a ride around town with a Realtor, home buyers would be wise to contact Nationwide Credit Clearing. With a complimentary free credit report and consultation, we can analyze your situation and give you an accurate assessment if your credit is home-buying worthy or needs some work.
Contact us today to get started – and happy home hunting!
10 More ways to start saving money today! (Part 2)
You’re very welcome!
Make sure to follow Nationwide Credit Clearing for more great information on improving your credit score, saving money, and creating a brighter financial future.
Ten more money-saving tips and hacks:
1. Check for bank fees and credit card annual fees.
These days, banks make countless millions of dollars every year just on fees, charges, and other avoidable costs. But that doesn’t mean you need to stand for it – check to see what kind of fees your bank and credit card companies are charging you and don’t be afraid to take your business elsewhere. Just be reading the fine print and moving your money to a bank, credit card, or financial institution that charges less but still matches your needs, you can save a few hundred dollars every year.
2. Watch those ATM fees.
When you use a bank other than your own, the average financial institution hits you for $2.50 in ATM fees AND your own bank can charge you an average of $1.57. Ouch. Plan your trips to the ATM so you’ll always have enough cash on you, or use your debit card at places that don’t charge a service fee. Just by paying attention to when and where you use the ATM, you may be able to save $10-$25 every month per adult in your household.
Money-saving tip: most supermarkets don’t charge fees for cash back on purchases!
3. Find coupons, rebates, and discount codes.
It may be a little cliché to sit at your kitchen table pouring through the newspaper and cutting out coupons, but these days, just about everything you need is online to save some serious bucks. In fact, most retailers have specials, promotions, coupons, rebates, and offer discount codes for good customers – all accessible to you for free on the web.
But instead of spending a whole lot of time hunting for the money-saving offers you need, there are amazing websites available that search out, aggregate, and present all of those money-saving opportunities for you. You can even enter your favorite store or the products you normally buy, or specialty items you’re looking for and receive email alerts when great deals pop up.
4. Refinance your mortgage.
Call a mortgage broker or your current lender to see if you can take advantage of today’s super low rates. Even the difference of one percentage point in interest rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan!
In fact, the best way to take advantage of a refinance with lower interest rates is by improving your credit score, which can save you tens of thousands of dollars – or more – over the term of the loan!
5. Review your cell phone plan.
Call up your carrier and ask to review your usage minutes and the plan you’re on. You might be overpaying for something you never use. Are there a few people in your household that use cell phones? Make sure to price out a family plan. In addition, if you have a home phone that you don’t really need, it’s a good time to cancel it.
6. Buy a good coffee maker.
If you’re like me, you’ll NEVER consider abandoning your much-needed caffeinated beverage, but making it at home will save you buckets of money. The average American spends $1,100 a year on coffee, though I would argue us working professionals drop even more at Starbucks. A good coffee maker will cut that cost by about 1/20 and you can make it how you like. Buy a thermos and bring extra to work for that afternoon caffeine injection.
7. Plan your meals out.
If you’re like me, you waste a lot of money on eating out. In fact, the average American spends more than $2,500 a year eating out! There’s nothing wrong with going to restaurants, but it adds up quickly so it should be a special, fun outing, not just an impulse based on convenience. Pre-scheduling your nights out to eat with the family and days out at work helps you cut costs. and you’ll actually enjoy the experience more. Try being frugal Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then start rewarding yourself toward the end of the week.
8. Lower your water heater’s thermostat.
Does anyone else see it as a ridiculous waste of energy that we turn on the scalding hot water and then have to cool it by turning the cold halfway up? Lowering your water heater to the 120-degree setting can save you up to $450 annually.
9. Regulate the heat and air.
About 32% of all energy waste comes from heating and air conditioning, which costs a pretty penny, especially in the cold winters or scorching summers. The biggest problem is that you’re heating or cooling your whole home equally, although you and your family are probably congregating in one or two rooms. So, turn down the thermostat but utilize portable heaters, fans, and even window AC units to save big money on your energy bills.
10. Improve your credit score with Nationwide Credit Clearing – and start saving money!
These days, your credit score is tied to just about every interest rate, loan, and financial account that you hold, which means that improving your credit score is the #1 most effective ways to keep your hard-earned dollars in your own pocket.
To find out just how much a great credit score can save you, contact us at MyNationwideCredit.com for a free report and consultation!
Is your bad credit score hurting your children?
Your credit score has little or nothing to do with your children, you may think. After all, young ones aren’t even aware of what a credit score is for the most part, nor do they concern themselves with the level of your credit card debt or other boring “adult stuff.”
So, even if you’re maxed out on your cards with a sub-par score, it won’t affect them, right?
Wrong. In fact, numerous new studies point to the fact that there’s a direct link between how parents manage their credit, debt, and other money matters, and how children will do the same in the future. Even more important, you could actually be hurting your child in myriad ways if you’re behind on bills and keep a bad score.
“Sadly, your credit doesn’t just affect you, it also affects your kids,” says Michael Banks, founder of Fortunate Investor.
From missing out on private schooling, participation in sports, field trips, getting tutoring, and having a new computer for homework. Braces, trips to the doctor, and other medical needs may go unmet if parents have too much medical debt, not enough funds set aside, or don’t qualify for A+ insurance programs due to their credit scores.
College choices, and especially their choice of universities and later vocation, will be negatively impacted, and these kids will be forced to take on student loans, won’t have co-signers to help them with their first credit card or car loan, and take lower paying jobs out of desperation and need.
“Your children will need you at some point for financial help,” says Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified.com. “Don’t waste away your financial future and your child’s hopes and dreams because you have sloppy money habits.”
These kids-now-adults will also lack the accurate and unemotional knowledge about debt, savings, and investing. So, point blank, the environment at home around credit and debt matters.
Research also shows that children do pay attention to their family’s finances, but not in ways you may think. Information filters in not in dollar figures and statistics, but in stress levels, perceived anxieties, topics that are taboo, and suggestions about their place in the world or society.
Furthermore, children whose parents have high levels of debt and low credit scores (which is different than just parents on the low end of the wage-earning scale), miss vital opportunities in life that may hinder their potential development as adults.
There even could be developmental or behavioral implications to your high debt/low score burden.
New studies even reveal that children whose parents have certain kinds of financial debt are more apt to have behavioral problems. In a study of 9,000 children ages 5 to 14 conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, researchers found that children of parents with high unsecured debt, such as credit cards or medical bills, were more likely to experience anxiety, emotional stress, aggression, and even depression.
“Growing up in an environment of constant financial worry can cause your children to ‘inherit’ those same concerns and carry them into their adulthood,” says Marc Johnston-Roche, founder of Annuities HQ.
However, it’s worth noting that there wasn’t such a correlation found between secured debt levels and children’s wellbeing. That’s because secured debt tends to go towards more positive and utilitarian purposes, such as getting a mortgage to buy a house, some student loan debt to pursue a degree, or taking out a business loan so the family can improve their financial situation.
Those findings are confirmed by a first-of-its-kind study by Dartmouth College which discovered that how parents handle their credit has socioemotional implications. In their research, children of parents with higher levels of unsecured debt (credit cards, payday loans, and medical debt), were more likely to suffer from “poor socioemotional well-being.”
“High levels of unsecured debt may create stress or anxiety for parents, which may hinder their ability to exhibit good parenting behaviors, and subsequently affect the wellbeing of their child or children,” the study reported.
But there is potentially good news for children when parents do manage their credit – and communicate positively about it. A landmark study conducted by North Carolina State University and the University of Texas concluded that parents who were more likely to sit down and talk with their kids about credit, debt, saving, spending, and earning, even from a young age, give their children a head start for the future.
But, interestingly, the study also found that certain topics were often taboo or off-limits during family discussions about finances, like parental income, investments, and, yes, debt. They also found that parents were more likely to talk with their boys about investing and other matters than with their daughters – a concerning trend.
So, what’s the takeaway?
If you have a bad credit score, your children are statistically far more likely to have bad credit scores as they get older, too. And if you max out your credit cards and carry a lot of “bad” debt, you’ll likely pass that pattern on to your kids. No matter how well-intentioned you are, right now, you’re actually modeling what financial behavior should look like to your children – and they’re learning quickly.
You now have another compelling reason to clean up your credit and right your financial ship: keeping your children out of the same predicament.