October 31, 2018, 8:52 am

5 Ways Bad Credit Can Be Repaired

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Credit Rating & Credit Bureau,Personal Finance

Having a bad credit score greatly limits your borrowing abilities. Around a third of Americans have a credit score that is below 601, the number that determines whether or not you have bad or fair credit. With a below average credit score, it’s much harder to get approved for a loan or credit card with favorable terms. Consumers with a low credit score or more likely to face lower approvals along with lower borrowing limits and higher interest rates.

While bad credit is a hard problem to overcome, it’s not impossible. Continue reading to learn 5 ways that you can repair your bad credit and improve your chances of more favorable borrowing in the future.

1. Fix Credit Report Errors

Mistakes happen and on your credit report, a mistake can be quite costly. The first step in repairing your bad credit is to look at your credit report. If you see any issues, such as a credit card you didn’t open or a loan you paid off months ago, you’ll want to start the dispute process. First write a dispute letter and send it via certified mail or online. Typically you’ll hear back from the credit bureau within 30 days of receiving the dispute.

When disputing a problem on your credit report:

  • You’ll have to dispute each mistake with all credit bureaus
  • Dispute each account separately
  • Consider hiring a professional service

Fixing your credit report is unlikely to result in a huge 200 point jump, but removing errors is an important first step in repairing your credit.

2. Pay Off Debt

Debt-to-income ratio is a huge factor when lenders review a credit or loan application. Having high debt-to-income ratio also impacts your credit score. One of the best things you can do as a consumer to improve bad credit is to pay down debt. The most effective method is to pay off your highest-interest rate debt first. As you pay off debt, you can put more money towards other loans and credit cards.

Even if you’re applying for one of the best credit cards for bad credit, lenders still have thresholds that borrowers must meet. By paying off debt, you can give your credit score a boost.

3. Always Pay On Time

A late payment can have a severe impact on your credit score. In fact, paying on time makes up about 35% of your credit rating. When you pay a lender late, they not only charge you a late payment fee, they may also report the tardy payment to the credit bureaus. Lenders typically report a late payment once it is 30 or 60 days late. This mark stays on your credit report for seven years and can impact future borrowing.

Thankfully with today’s technology, it’s much easier to manage multiple due dates. Most lenders offer the ability to set up automatic payments each month. Instead of having to remember when to pay each of your bills, you can use automatic payments that are withdrawn from your account on a set day each month. This makes paying your bills effortless and all but eliminates the risk of a late payment.

4. Pay More Than the Minimum

Looking at your credit card or loan statement, it’s tempting to pay just the minimum balance due, especially when the payment is only $15 or $25. This low payment is especially helpful if you’re facing financial hardship.

The problem with paying just the minimum is that it will take months, if not years, to pay off the total balance due. Paying just the minimum also means that you’re paying more towards interest. Depending on the lender, you may find that paying the minimum balance due results in an increased balance each month.

The smarter option is to pay as large of a payment that you can afford. Putting more money each month means that more money is going towards the principal balance, allowing you to pay off debt quicker than you imagined. As you pay off debt, you can put even more money towards other debt, such as a credit card or student loan.

5. Avoid Further Borrowing Applications

Borrowing can be quite tempting at times. Maybe you’re interested in a store credit card that offers a discount on purchases or you want to purchase a new car which means an auto loan. But, more often than not, it’s best to avoid unplanned borrowing.

Applying for loans or credit cards too frequently will impact your credit score. As a rule of thumb, you want to wait at least six months between applications. While credit inquiries only make up 10% of your credit score, applying too often does impact whether or not a lender approves your application.

Conclusion

By knowing how to repair your bad credit, you can improve your chances of getting approved for a loan or credit card in the future. Though your credit won’t repair itself overnight, the sooner you get started on the process, the better.

If you have any helpful tips or advice for repairing bad credit, share your experience in the comments below.

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October 31, 2018, 7:23 am

#IGForexChat 3: What does the next year hold for emerging market currencies?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investment, Market and Risk

  • IG presents ‘IG Forex Chat 3’ – a live discussion focused on what the next 12 months hold for emerging market currencies
  • Presenter Sara Walker will be joined by trader Paul Bratby for the chat
  • Watch live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at 6.30pm (UK time) on Thursday 1 November
  • Viewers can submit questions for the Q&A using #IGForexChat on social media

 

Emerging market (EMs) currencies have been particularly volatile in 2018 due to the rise of the dollar, which has increased the cost of dollar-denominated debt and contributed to crises in Argentina, Turkey and Venezuela. These effects could soon spread to other EM currencies such as those used by Chile, Poland and Hungary, which all have a large amount of US debt. Meanwhile the future looks uncertain for the Chinese renminbi and Russian ruble, which are at risk from the effects of Trump’s ‘trade war’ and international sanctions respectively.

With so much potential for volatility, forex trading provider IG is taking a look at what the next 12 months could hold for currency pairs including USD/CNH, EUR/RUB and USD/TRY. The firm’s presenter Sara Walker will be speaking with professional trader Paul Bratby to discuss a broad range of related topics, including:

 

  • The EM currencies to watch over the next 12 months
  • How the dollar’s valuation will affect EM currencies
  • The effects of changing commodity prices
  • How the value of the US dollar, Chinese renminbi and Russian ruble will change

 

There will be a live Q&A during the session, so viewers can put forward any topics they’d like Paul to discuss, or any questions they want answered. They can post questions to the #IGForexChat Community page, or by using #IGForexChat on Twitter or Facebook.

To watch the live video stream, tune in at 6.30pm (UK time) on Thursday 1 November via IG’s trading platform, or the company’s YouTube, Facebook or Twitter pages. For more information, please contact Irene Castaneda (irene.castaneda@ig.com).

About IG: IG empowers informed, decisive, adventurous people to access opportunities in over 15,000 financial markets. With a strong focus on innovation and technology, the company puts client needs at the heart of everything it does.

IG’s vision is to be a global leader in retail trading and investments. Established in 1974 as the world’s first financial spread betting firm, it continued leading the way by launching the world’s first online and iPhone trading services.

IG is now an award-winning, multi-platform trading company, the world’s No.1 provider of CFDs* and a global leader in forex. It provides leveraged services with negative balance protection, and offers an execution-only share dealing service in the UK, Australia, Germany, France, Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands. IG has recently launched a range of affordable, fully managed investment portfolios, to provide a comprehensive offering to investors and active traders.

It is a member of the FTSE 250, with offices across Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East – plus the US, where it offers on-exchange limited risk derivatives via the Nadex brand.

Risk warning: Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

* Based on revenue excluding FX (published financial statements, February 2018).

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September 6, 2018, 10:45 am

How Your Time Zone Can Affect Your Profits

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

It seems that time is indeed money, in the truest sense of the word. It has long been acknowledged that one of the main reasons London is the financial centre of the world is due to its favourable position in the global time zone map. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) means that when traders are active in London, they will also be sharing active trading hours with financiers in New York, San Francisco and even Tokyo.

The flip-side of this is that those working in unfavourable, inconvenient time zones such as those all the way out in Australia or New Zealand are at a disadvantage when it comes to participating in global trade, as their active trading hours are mostly when the rest of the world is sound asleep. Here’s how living in the right time zone can maximise your profits.

Source: Pixabay

Communication is Key

The timezone conundrum stretches beyond just being able to participate in day trading with major stock exchanges around the globe. Say, for example, if a company that manufactures goods in San Diego gets its parts from China and its design expertise from Sweden; if an issue arises in the middle of the working day, that Californian businessman is going to have a lot of trouble getting a quick response from co-workers in their global supply chain.

If you’re living in a time zone such as Brussels, then this problem is less likely to arise, as you’ll be able to make contact at almost any time of the day with the knowledge that people you depend on who are located on another continent should at least be conscious and able to respond to any urgent query you might have. When so many supply chains these days are structured in a “just in time” manner, having to wait hours for a solution can be catastrophic for your profits.

Productivity

More recent research has begun to focus on how productivity is affected by people’s time zones. Countries such as Spain and Finland are even attempting to change their time zones in an attempt to raise worker productivity and overall wealth. Put simply, you may be using a trading platform that allows you to connect with trade from anywhere on the planet but, if your time zone means that you’re waking up too early due to earlier sunlight, you’re more likely to be tired during the working day, and therefore working less. The science is there to suggest that the impact on productivity is real, which might explain why more ideally-located timezones such as New York and Munich have some of the highest productivities in the world.

Source: Pixabay

Overcoming Distance

No matter how increasingly interconnected global finance and trade becomes, it seems we are still limited by geography in many respects. However, this limit is an arbitrary one, as time zones are entirely man-made creations which are losing credibility fast. Creating a more business-friendly, realistic time zone system, or even abolishing it altogether, could have significant positive impacts on trade, investment and prosperity.

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August 17, 2018, 5:56 am

How to Save Money Without Even Trying

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

When you’re in debt, the first thing you need to do, after you’ve talked to the debt management advisers at Credit Fix, is to start a programme of savings.

You can do this the hard way, by imposing full-on austerity measures upon yourself, or you can do it the easy way. Harsh saving methods don’t last long! Painless saving mechanisms tend to stay with you for life.

Here’s just a few of the best ones.

image credit

Cashback

Loads of companies have cashback facilities – you do your routine grocery shopping and once your cashback rewards reach a certain threshold, you’ll get a gift-card or a deposit into your chosen account. Once you’ve set up all your details, all you need to do is shop as usual. Some bank accounts offer this service, although you have to log into your online account and choose current offers from the menu.

Tip yourself

So, you got a small bonus, a tax rebate, or you did some overtime. Don’t fritter this extra cash away on frivolities. Make sure you transfer some of your booty into a savings account so it can get to work earning interest rather than disappearing at the make-up counter. It’s easy to get into this habit – every time you save money at the supermarket, transfer that amount into your saver account. It’s surprising how quickly it adds up.

Always compare

Whatever you’re about to order or pay for, take a minute to find it cheaper elsewhere. Whether it’s energy, insurance or washing powder, see if you can find a cheaper option, even if you have to wait for a couple more days for delivery. Looking for voucher codes is also time well spent.

Choose cheaper grocery brands

When you do your grocery shopping, try the own-brand versions of various items. Sometimes you’ll be disappointed, sometimes you won’t be able to tell the difference and sometimes you’ll be happier. Once you’ve found these decent alternatives, stick to them – no effort required.

Get out and about

This doesn’t mean shopping! It means getting out for a walk with the dog and the kids, or heading to the park. You can turn off your heating, lights and TV, pack a flask and some snacks if necessary, and hit the great outdoors. You’ll be saving money and getting fit at the same time.

Do some overtime

This is doubly beneficial; not only are you earning more money, but you won’t have the time to spend it! It can be boring, of course, so do treat yourself once your stint is done – just don’t go overboard and blow your extra wages!

Have a cooling-off period

We’re now used to clicking “buy now” and having our items turn up several hours later. This can be a disaster for people prone to impulse purchases. Set a limit – £20, for example – and any purchase above this amount requires you to wait 48 hours before completing it. While you’re waiting, see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere, or ask yourself if you really need it.

Save some or all of your pay rises

When you get a pay rise, it’s money that you managed ok (ish) without the previous month, right? So why not manage without it for the next few months and send it straight into savings? Of course, if you have big debts, then some of it can go into paying them down ahead of schedule, but do aim to save some of it.

 

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July 27, 2018, 1:28 pm

What You Need to Know About Taxes on Precious Metals

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investment, Market and Risk

If you’re new to buying precious metals then you may be wondering what your tax situation is when it comes to selling the bullion for a profit.

There are individual state tax laws, as well as federal laws to abide by. This means that you need to talk to your accountant or a tax advisor once you’ve bought your gold bars from this website.

The IRS treats precious metals as capital assets

As a result of this, gold, silver, platinum and palladium may attract capital gains when they’re sold at a profit. The IRS also views precious metals as a collectible, so they can have tax levied on their profits up to the maximum of the 28% capital gains tax (CGT).

The taxes aren’t calculated and applied until the metal is actually sold, because the capital gain hasn’t been realized until then. So, say you buy 10 ounces of gold at $1,100 per ounce and place it in a depository for several years. While it’s in storage it appreciates in value to $1,300 per ounce. You decide to sell it at this price, which realizes (as in, makes real) the capital gain of $2,000.

Do I owe tax on this $2,000 profit?

You need to calculate the original cost of the metals, which in this case was $11,000, and then the selling price, which was $13,000. This makes you a profit of $2,000. Your federal tax bracket will determine whether you owe tax on some or all of this profit, which is why you need to speak to an advisor. There are also several special conditions that you need to factor in.

If you’ve inherited the metal things may change

If you’ve inherited the metals then a different calculation method is used to work out the cost basis – the cost basis in this case is the market value of the metal on the day of your benefactor’s death.

If you’ve been gifted the metals

The cost basis is calculated by the market value on the day the person giving you the metals bought them – not the day you received them. Sometimes the market value is less than the amount the person actually paid, in which case the cost basis is worked out from a fair market price from that day.

In short, though, you probably will owe tax on some or all of the profit.

What rates might I have to pay?

This depends a lot on your usual income tax rate and the length of time you’ve had the metals before selling them. You already know that the IRS sees precious metals as collectibles, so you’ll possibly have to pay the 28% CGT. It also matters whether you’ve held the metals for less or more than a year as less that a year counts as a short-term gain, which is taxed differently.

When is the tax due?

You report your capital gains from your metals in your yearly tax return and then pay any tax owed in due course.

What if I sell at a loss?

Hopefully you won’t, but if you do, then you have a capital loss, not a gain. You can offset capital gains from other sources against this loss either in the same tax year or in future tax years or you can offset it against your ordinary income (with some restrictions). Ideally, you need to speak to your tax advisor for the most up-to-date advice.

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