Monthly Archives: December 2014

Getting Ahead In 2015 By Setting Financial Goals Is Critical

Getting a jump start with your financial goals you can accomplish 2015. Right now is the perfect time to sit back and reflect over the last year and look at any weak spots you may have had financially in 2014 then make plans for any needed changes. As I’ve said before as well you do not need to wait until 2015 to make these changes or enact any of this advice, in fact getting a head start now can get you a head start on making new habits and make it easier for you to transition into a new way of life and a new mind set.

If you are married and both of you have spending problems you can sit down with your husband, wife, partner or significant other and have a serious talk about money. What I always advise couples with money problems to do is to become more involved with each other when it comes to finances, for example going to your partner to discuss any frivolous expenditure before the purchase is made. What this does is takes impulse spending out of the picture by making you accountable to your partner for any non needed expenditures. You can always work into a budget a set amount of money to spend on whatever you want and avoid the need to discuss it with your partner unless you surpass the agreed upon allowance of “fun money”. You should also discuss any financial plans and goals with your partner fully and get them involved with every aspect of the financial planing.

One area that often gets over looked by people is health insurance. This is the time of the year that you can change health plans. You should take the time to see if there are any plans with lower copay or premiums. Perhaps another plan has lower out of pocket expenses. Even if you are very healthy today and do not for-see needing to even use health insurance things happen and it is far better to spend a little time exploring your options than to be caught between a rock and hard place if the unexpected happens and you need to fall back on your health insurance.

You should also be thinking of your tax return and tax filing this month. Every year millions of americans miss important tax deductions and exemptions. Now is the perfect time to begin itemizing to make the most out of any tax write offs you may qualify for. Consider reading up on tax exemptions. For example many people do not know that job hunting costs can qualify as a tax write off for 2014, including expenses such as Transportation expenses such as 56 cents a mile for driving your own car, also parking and tolls can be written off which may seem small but it adds up. You can also qualify for a child care credit which reduces your tax burden dollar for dollar, between 20% and 35% of what you pay for child care while you work, which is better than a tax write off.

Another thing you should work on is tackling any credit card debt you may have. Not only will you have less debt but your credit score will improve due to your credit utilization being lower. When you free up credit card debt you have more available credit in the case of an emergency such as losing your job.

Kyle is a financial writer who contributes to the QuickCashPersonalLoans to help consumers navigate the challenging landscape with personal finances and loans.

The Future Of Credit Report Utilization Heading Into 2015

The use of your credit report is at an all time high. Many of the time that people pull your credit you likely will not even know your credit report is being pulled. It used to be only lenders could pull your credit report, then slowly landlords got into pulling credit reports on potential tenants, then employers got into the act of pulling potential employes credit reports to determine what kind of person they would be hiring. But now the number of groups pulling your credit report has increased. Today credit reports are being pulled for non lending reasons. Poor credit can now block you from getting that job you want, or from you being able to rent the right apartment all based on your credit report.

Health care providers have begun to also pull your credit report. Health care facilities such as hospitals and doctors are now yanking patients credit reports to decide if you can pay for your medical treatments or not, due to many years of patients skipping out on medical debt. Medical debt amount to a significant amount of Americans overall debt in 2013. One study found that in 2010, 30 million Americans had medical bills in collection. Hospitals and health care providers are looking for ways to mitigate loss by denying treatment to those they deem cannot afford the treatment, or by offering patients less effective but cheaper treatments based on their credit reports. The federal health insurance marketplace also makes use of it to verify your identity when applying for an Obama care policy.

With credit reports being pulled for so many non lending reasons, it is costing Americans opportunities. A bad credit report can happen for reasons you may not be able to control, such as extreme health issues, loss of a job, or other setbacks in life. It used to be that a poor credit score just made it impossible to obtain a loan at an affordable rate, now it is preventing people from obtaining good jobs and safe housing, the very things we need to get out of debt in fact. Bad credit reports are now a barrier to digging yourself out of debt, as you cannot very well pay your debts off without a good paying job. The idea employers performing credit background check is that employees who are financially responsible will be very responsible at work, have a higher work ethic and that those who have poor credit may be more likely to steal, take excessive time off and other issues. The barriers created by the ways that credit reports are now being used also traps many Americans deeper into debt as it has forced many Americans to use extreme forms of credit such as payday loans just to make necessary bills on time and adding more debt to an already blemished credit report.

Politicians are beginning to take notice of of the excessive use of credit reports in non traditional ways. Lawmakers are looking into ways to limit the use of credit reports by non lenders. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced legislation to prohibit employers from requiring a credit report for example under a bill called the Equal Employment for All Act. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are co-sponsors of the new bill. If the bill passes it will prohibit employers from requiring potential employees to disclose their credit history, with the exception of jobs like FBI agent or other top clearance government jobs. “A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual’s character or abilities,” Senator Warren said. It is not just politicians that are supporting the bill, the Equal Employment for All Act has been endorsed by more than 40 organizations across the country.

The bill would cover non traditional reporting agencies as well, such as smaller credit reporting agencies, which are beginning to become popular with some companies. If the bill does take effect and bars employers from pulling your credit, the companies in question could obtain information from other sources such as such as CoreLogic or LexisNexis, and most people do not know these exist, and access is not given to private individuals. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act however you would be protected and have the right to see what information they have on file about you and you would have the right to dispute any inaccuracies.

Steven Moore is the editor and chief at best credit cards network, a collaboration of credit card and financial websites and has been covering the credit and finance markets since 2006. You can connect with him online at his Google plus page for additional questions regarding the potential chances forthcoming with credit reporting, credit cards and consumer finances in 2015.