Friday, December 21, 2012

Traits of People with High Credit Scores

Those individuals with the highest credit scores, those above 785,  qualify for the best mortgage rates which allow you to save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 
FICO recently released some traits of individuals with the highest credit scores:
  1. No missed payments on the credit report.  Or the missed payment was greater than 3 years ago.  Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. 
  2. Well established credit history.  Opening of new credit accounts is rare.  Generally those with the highest credit scores have accounts that are 11 years old or greater.
  3. While the high credit scoring individuals are not always debt free, the have an average of 7 credit cards (both opened and closed) and only have 4 cards or loans with balances.  Most have a total balance of less than $8, 500.
How can you raise your credit score?

  1. Make automatic payments whenever available.  Most banks offer these at no charge.  So you save the stamp as well and are NEVER late on a reoccurring payment.
  2. Don't open up new accounts just to get the free t-shirt or discount on today's purchase.
  3. Close unnecessary credit card accounts.  Do this in writing, just cutting up the card doesn't close the account.
  4. Pay off the balances on your cards, smallest to largest and then vow to not use credit cards!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Follow these tips to keep Bedbugs at bay.  While traveling, Bedbugs are one souvenir you don't want to bring home.
The National Pest Management Association's Vice President of Public Affairs, Missy Henriksen, shares the following tips for avoiding these pests while traveling.

Check Your Room. If you don't want to let the bedbugs bite, thoroughly inspect your room for signs of infestation. Henriksen advises placing your luggage in the bathroom when you first arrive in your hotel room, because there's no place for bedbugs to hide in most bathrooms. Next, says Henriksen, "Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains or spots or even the bugs themselves. Adult bedbugs resemble a flat apple seed." Also look behind the headboard, inside chair and couch cushions, behind picture frames, and around electrical outlets. If you see anything suspicious, notify management and change rooms (or better yet, establishments) immediately.

Request A Different Room. If you do have to change rooms, don't move to a room adjacent to or directly above or below the site of the bedbug infestation. "Bedbugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts and luggage or even through wall sockets," notes Henriksen. "If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin."

Cover Your Bags. Even if you don't see any signs of bedbugs, you should still take precautions. Never place luggage on a hotel bed or floor. Use luggage racks if available, and place your suitcase in a protective cover. Even a plastic trash bag will suffice.

Keep Everything Off the Floor. Despite the name, bedbugs lurk in many spots, not just where you sleep. Always be vigilant when you travel. Avoid putting your personal belongings on the floor of an airplane, bus, train, or taxi. Keep your small bag or purse on your lap at all times, and seal your bigger bags inside plastic or protective covers before checking or storing them in overhead bins.

Treat Your Luggage and Clothes After Travel. "The best way to prevent bedbugs is to remain vigilant both during travel and once you return home," says Henriksen. The National Pest Management Association offers the following checklist to make sure you leave the bedbugs behind:
• Inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house, and vacuum all luggage before storing it.
• Consider using a handheld garment steamer to steam your luggage; this can kill any bedbugs or eggs that might have hitched a ride home.
• Immediately wash and dry all of your clothes—even those that have not been worn—in hot temperatures to ensure that any stowaway bedbugs are not transported into your drawers or closet.
• Keep clothes that must be dry-cleaned in a plastic bag and take them to the dry cleaner as soon as possible.
• If you suspect a bedbug infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional promptly. Bedbugs are not a DIY pest, and the longer you wait, the larger the infestation will grow. A trained professional has the tools and knowledge to effectively treat your infestation.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

5 thing$ worth $plurging on

If you made a new years resolution to stop spending-you have the company of millions of Americans
Here are a few purchases, when you make them, that you'll not want to skimp on

1)  Interior paint-buy the highest quality paint you can afford as the higher priced items GENERALLY look better and are easier to apply.  Paints run from $10-$50 a gallon!

2)  Running shoes--cut rate shoes have insufficient arch support.  Visit a local running store, have your feet evaluated and purchase their recommendations for happy feet!  Plan on spending upwards of $130

3)  Kitchen knives--a high quality set can last a lifetime.  Make sure you purchase a knife that has a high-carbon steel blade and a handle out of crack resistant material.  Professional grade knives start at around $400--but these may be the ONLY knives you'll ever have to buy!

4)  Mattress--a better bed is key to a good nights sleep.  Col count, gauge and filling materials all play a role in firmness, comfort, sturdiness and durability.  Take your time selecting a new mattress and plan on replacing every 10-15 years!

5)  Estate Planning-Update your estate planning documents whenever you have a major life change.  Sure, the do-it-yourself kit for $15 can be used to draw up a will but more complicated estates (those valued over $50,000 should be handled by an attorney.