Never Pay Interest on Your Credit Card Again with This Easy Hack

Never Pay

That’s the dream, right? Pay off your debt without accruing a single cent in interest? Well, that dream is possible with one simple credit card hack. No, it doesn’t require you to join a cult and sign over your first born or sign any crazy contracts. All you have to do is be approved for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and then transfer that debt over and pay it off before the promotion ends. Of course, it’s not always a fool-proof plan. If don’t correctly, it’s one of the best ways to efficiently pay off debt. If done poorly, it could trap you even deeper in the debt cycle. What is a Balance Transfer? A balance transfer is when you transfer your credit card balance from one credit card to another, usually to take advantage of a lower interest rate or better terms and conditions. Many banks now offer a card with a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers, which is what you want to aim for. As long as you pay it off before the introductory period ends, you don’t have to pay any interest. Balance transfers are also a great way

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4 Ways to Ramp Up Retirement Savings in 2017

Ramp Up

If you’re not as prepared for retirement as you’d like to be, you’re not alone. According to a March 2016 report from the Economic Policy Institute, nearly half of American families having nothing saved for their later years. Among families that do, the average savings balance is $95,776. The beginning of the new year is a great time to review your spending and savings habits and map out a plan for hitting your retirement goals. If you haven’t been setting aside as much for retirement as you’d like or you have yet to start, here’s how to get your plan on track. 1. Start with your employer-sponsored plan If you’ve got a retirement plan available through your job, you’re off to a good start already. Stashing away some of your salary into a 401(k) is a relatively easy way to build up your nest egg. So how much do you put in? At a minimum, you should aim to save at least enough to get the matching contribution if your employer offers one. Here’s an example of how valuable the match can end up being. Let’s say you make $50,000 a year and you’re 35 years old. You’re saving four

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6 Low-Stress Ways to Save $10,000 in 2017

Low Stress

If you’re a spender by nature, saving money probably falls somewhere in between stepping on a Lego and getting a root canal on your personal pain scale. The problem is that when the refrigerator goes on the fritz or your roof springs a leak, you may end up regretting your less than frugal ways. A new year is a good time to make a fresh start where your spending and savings habits are concerned. If you’re new to saving or you’ve tried to save in the past but you keep hitting a brick wall, here are some helpful tips for beefing up your cash reserves in 2017. 1. Put Your Goals In Writing Keeping a mental inventory of your goals means you’re not chasing bits of paper but it’s not a foolproof system for building up your savings. It’s like going to the grocery story without a list. You always end up spending more than you planned and you inevitably forget the milk. Before you do anything else, take the time to spell out exactly what it is you want to do savings-wise in the new year. For example, “save for retirement” is a good goal to have but it’s

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4 New Year's Money Resolutions It's Okay to Break

Okay to break

My inner math nerd loves the new year. On New Year’s Eve when everybody else is out blowing big bucks at the bar, I’m at home setting my financial goals for the next 12 months. Sounds boring, I know but I’ve learned how important it is to have a plan in place for my dollars and cents. If you spent most of 2016 dealing with debt or living paycheck to paycheck, you may be looking forward to the fresh start that a new year brings. You may even be writing up some financial resolutions to get your bottom line in shape. While that’s a step in the right direction, there are some resolutions that could be worth breaking. Resolution #1: Stop using credit Swearing off credit cards for good may seem like a smart move but it can backfire if you’re not careful. The reason? Your credit score. Thirty-five percent of your FICO credit score is based on your payment history. If you stop using credit cards cold turkey and you don’t have any other loans, you don’t have any opportunity to continue building a positive payment history. While that won’t necessarily hurt your score, it does nothing to help

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3 Steps To Take When You Identity Is Stolen

Identity Theft

A few years ago, I was traveling in a foreign country. On my way to a church service, my credit card was stolen by pickpockets. Back at my hotel an hour later, I called my card issuer and canceled my card. In one hour, some amateur street crooks charged $15,000 in goods to my card, including lunch at McDonalds. Imagine what a thief smart enough to steal your whole identity can do, not in a just few hours, but in a few days or weeks! That is why fast action is essential. The good news is that most of the places you need to contact to put an end to matters are open 24 hours a day, so a midnight call won’t wake anyone up. Recovering from identity theft is almost always more time consuming and upsetting than you think. However, relying on others to solve a problem that is yours alone is sure to lead to even more disappointment and credit damage. The good news is that if your identity has been compromised you can repair and safeguard your credit on your own by following some simple steps that I outline in this article. Emotions run high when you

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8 Crucial Steps to Take If You’re in a Car Accident

Car Accident

Nobody ever plans to be in a car accident, but maybe you should. According to the experts, the average driver will be in a car accident serious enough to require an insurance claim every 17.9 years. And if you’re a, shall we say, less than excellent driver? Oof. You could have five or six accidents by the time you’re 90. Once you wrap your head around the fact that you’re going to be in an accident some day, you need to get ready. Obviously you wear your seatbelt all the time — right? — but you’ll also need to know exactly what to do after that fender bender to work within the law, meet your insurance company’s expectations, and protect your assets. Grab a pencil — you’re going to want to take some notes. 1. Stay at the Scene — But Stay Safe Never, ever leave the scene of an accident without talking to the other driver. If someone is hurt, you can get in serious legal trouble for leaving the scene. No matter how scared you may be, or how big a hurry you’re in, you definitely don’t want to be on the evening news labeled as a hit-and-run

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How Much Do Most People Have Saved at Your Age?

How much saved

Do you know if you’re on track for your retirement savings? Even if you don’t know exactly how much money you’ll need in retirement, you’re likely not saving as much as you should. Whether that’s because your money is tied up in other financial obligations or because you’re just unaware of how much you should be saving, now’s the time to get informed on how much you should have saved for retirement. Of course, there are many things to consider when it comes to retirement savings, but age is one of the leading factors. How much you have saved at certain milestones in your life will determine when you can retire and how comfortably you can retire. Let’s take a look at how much the average American has in retirement savings by age: Median Retirement Savings By Age According to a study conducted by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, median retirement savings for people in America by age are as follows: 20’s - $16,000 30’s - $45,000 40’s - $63,000 50’s - $117,000 60’s - $172,000 It’s important to know that these numbers represent total household savings. So, the numbers for individuals could be even lower. Given these numbers, it’s

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How Trump's Win Will Affect Your Money

Trump

On January 20, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump will take office as the 45th President of the United States. Among all of his legislative proposals, you may be wondering how his presidency will affect your money. In this article, I lay out four main areas of America’s finances that Trump’s proposals may affect and discuss his specific plans. Income Tax Changes The first major financial change to expect is a reduction in income tax brackets. Trump has proposed reducing the income tax brackets from seven to three. The proposed tax brackets would be as follows: 12% for single filers making up to $37,500 and married-joint filers making up to $75,000 25% for single filers making up to $112,500 and married-joint filers making up to $250,000 33% for single filers making more than $112,500 and married-joint filers making more than $250,000 For reference, here are the 2016 income tax brackets. With Trump’s changes, some high-income earners will fall under a lower income tax bracket. For example, the marginal tax rate for a single person making $100,000 a year would drop from 28% to 25%. The marginal tax rate would also be capped at 33%, meaning that those making over $413,250 a year

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5 Best Things To Do With Your Tax Refund

Tax Refund

Last year, over 80% of tax filers received refunds. The average tax refund was $3,120. With tax refund being so prevalent, it’s no wonder people are searching for the best ways to use this money windfall. Whether you receive a tax refund every year or will be receiving one for the first time, you may have questions on how to best use the money. Fortunately, there are some smart strategies that’ll help you improve your financial situation. Here are best things to do with your tax refund: 1. Pay Off High-Interest Debt The higher the interest rate on your debt, the more money you lose over time. If you have a $1,000 balance sitting on a credit card with a 15% interest rate, you’ll lose $150 in a year if you don’t pay it off. Bump that amount up to $10,000 and you’re losing $1,500 in one year by not paying it off! In general, debt limits the freedom you have with your money. The payment that you’re making every month on your credit card or loan could be used for other financial goals like saving for a house down payment. So, the best thing you can do with you

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How To Score Free Airline Tickets and Save On Vacation

Overspending on vacation

I adore traveling at least as much as the next hedonist. Just about everything about it its enthralling — choosing a location, deciding on the mode of transportation, finding the best lodging, learning about the place and it’s history. It’s all so exciting. Well, except for one detail: the bill for all that fun. As the old saying goes, when planning a trip, pack half as many clothes you think you’ll need and take twice as much money. The fact is, vacations are almost always considerably more expensive than you anticipate. Thankfully you can keep the costs down, both before you leave and while you’re out of town. You do not want to come home to debt. Here’s how you can avoid this. 1. Obtain a mega-reward credit card well before your intended trip If your credit rating is excellent and you earn big bucks at a stable job, you may be able to qualify for a credit card that comes with enough points to pay for your entire flight - and then some. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers 100,000 sign-up points, as long as you spend $4,000 in the first three months of it being granted.

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