7 Easy Ways to Fix Your Credit

easy ways to fix your credit

If you have the day off today it’s the perfect time to spend it improving your personal finances, and it all starts with your credit.

Analyzing our financial situations can be a daunting task, especially if a bad credit score haunts you. But, despite how easy it is to fall victim to credit, it doesn’t have to be the enemy we often make it out to be. If the words “charge it” made a regular appearance in your everyday vocabulary without a plan of action, you may be in need of some personal credit repair. Although the damage may seem irreversible, there are easy ways to fix your credit. Below, I’ve listed just a few:

Easy Ways to Fix Your Credit

Don’t Transfer Your Credit

It may be tempting to simply transfer your credit from one card to another, but avoid this as much as possible. All you are doing is causing yourself more heartache and (and debt) instead of taking action on your existing due payments. Along with putting off the inevitable, you may be subject to transfer fees and are therefore increasing your costs.

Keep Cards Without Annual Fees Open

As counterintuitive as it sounds, don’t close all your accounts at once. Instead, keep the ones that do not charge you annual fees to use for small purchases. The key is to make sure you then pay off those balances right away to avoid late fees, increased interest, and so on. This action alone is one small step you can take in improving your credit. Plus, canceling your cards without taking the proper steps (or that still have a balance) can end up hurting you more. CreditCards.com provides these helpful tips on how to cancel a credit card.

Seek Help Online

The internet is full of resources just waiting to help you with all your financial woes. In addition to this blog, you can find companies online dedicated to helping you repair your credit, such as Credit Sesame, which is a free web-based tool that provides you with not only a free credit score but advice on how to improve it as well. Not to mention, there are plenty of online financial forums you can participate in as well, like this one.

Review the Statute of Limitations on Your Debt

Your debt does have a statute of limitations, which essentially means the length of time that passes where a creditor can sue you for the outstanding payment. This length of time varies from state to state. If the statute of limitations on your debt has run out, you’ll be able to negotiate a lower overall sum. In some cases, the collector may end up ceasing efforts to collect the money owed.

Look Into a Secured Credit Card

CreditKarma.com advises individuals looking to rebuild (or building credit history in general) to consider a secured credit card. Secured credit cards, they explain, typically require that you pay a security deposit to work as collateral in the event you may have a past due payment on your account. Because you are taking on the financial risk with this deposit, they are not only easier to obtain approval by lenders but also help you improve your credit.

Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy should be an absolute last resort. Try to avoid taking this step as much as you can as this stays on your credit record for roughly seven to ten years. It may wipe out your credit card debt, but it will not improve your credit report. In some cases, it may actually make it worse and will make it harder to obtain a loan or credit cards in the future.

Pay Your Credit Card Bills Early

Make an effort to pay your credit card bills before the statement due date. By paying your bill before your next statement is even ready, you can help to increase your credit score. This is really one of the easiest ways to fix your overall credit.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in this process. It does also seem to be easier to improve your credit as you get older, given that time helps to build a credit history, as shown in this December 8, 2016, article on CreditCards.com by Jamie Gonzalez-Garcia. The process is not easy (or fun), but with due diligence and discipline, you can conquer your credit and look forward to reaping the benefits of your hard work.

The above methods are just a few of the easy ways to fix your credit. What would you add to the list? 

Four Things to Know About Crowdfunding Investments

tax breaks for 2016For many investors, the idea of putting money into a startup company has often not been possible. The amount of money needed to even consider participating was simply outside the financial resources of small and even medium size investors. Today, everything has changed. Beginning in 2012, laws were changed to allow for capital formation in new ways. The most significant was crowdfunding. Allowing the pooling of small investment dollars for startup ventures. This created an entirely new source of capital for businesses, and the creation of new enterprises and the jobs that came with them.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a pooling of money, usually from a large group of small investors instead of a few wealthy investors. This enables many people to participate in many investment deals that they would not normally be able to be a part of. One example of crowdfunding is financing startup businesses. This has been a form of investment that was outside the reach of most investors, but today, most people have many opportunities to invest their money in new projects by entrepreneurs.

Why is crowdfunding attractive to investors?

Unlike many other forms of investment, the upside to investing in a startup company is tremendous. For a certain amount of money, a small investor will have a stake in the new company. It is not a loan, but an exchange of startup money for equity in the company. This type of investment has always been the domain of the rich, but now that smaller investors have access to it, so crowdfunding has become very popular.

Another type of equity crowdfunding

Although it was entrepreneurs with startup companies that attracted the most attention, there were other areas of investment that were allowed under the new laws. At the top of the list is real estate crowdfunding. This allows smaller investors to participate in the ownership of rental properties. Sure, you could buy an income producing piece of real estate yourself, such as a house, but it is also a large amount of money that you’re investing in a single piece of property. With crowdfunding, you are spreading your investment dollar to several properties. In some cases, you may have an equity share in both commercial and residential properties.

Why real estate equity crowdfunding is different

In the past, you could purchase shares in a Real Estate Investment Trust, but this is much different. A REIT is similar to buying shares in a corporation. You make money if the stock price goes up and you sell the stock, or the company pays dividends. In either case, you own shares of the REIT and not the real estate itself. With crowdfunding, you are a part owner of the real estate and get a portion of the profits generated by the property. In addition, because you have an equity stake in these properties, everything is above board. You know exactly what is owned by the crowdfund. A REIT will often not disclose the full extent of the properties owned.

With Internet technology, equity real estate crowdfunding is available online, and for many investors, it offers an alternative to the stock market. At the very least it can be complementary to your stock portfolio. There are many platforms online that offer real estate crowdfunding investments. Perhaps the oldest one is Fundrise. They have been around since the laws were first changed in 2012 to allow for capital formation of crowdfunding. Fundrise Reviews can be found on many crowdfunding blogs and forums.

Independent Business vs. Franchise: Which One Is Right for You?

business-841174_640Today we have a guest post from Anum Yoon. Enjoy!

Being a small business owner has a number of benefits, especially for moms looking for some freedom when growing their family. As the owner of your own business, you’re able to set your own hours, work when you want to and generate some profit to help you and your family.

But being a business owner of any kind is some seriously challenging work. Whether you’re an independent business owner or the owner of a franchise, there are some benefits and drawbacks of each. Which one is right for you will depend on what you’re looking for out of your business.

Let’s take a look at a few of the things you need to know when deciding which is the right fit for you.

Independent Business Owner: The Good

As an independent business owner, you’re truly in control of the day-to-day operations. You’re able to decide what products or services you sell, how you sell them, the name of your company and what branding you use. You’re the CEO, fully capable of making business decisions.

This also means you really are in charge of the hours you work and the money you make. As an independent business owner, you can control how much time you spend working on your business. This is perfect for the stay-at-home mom with small children who need to be taken care of.

Independent Business Owner: The Bad

Being the CEO of your own company isn’t all glamorous. You’re solely responsible for the success of your business. You’re in charge of making the right branding choices, knowing what products or services your customer is looking for and creating the marketing strategies to help your business grow.

This can be incredibly time-consuming. If you’re hoping your business will bring in a full-time income, you need to dedicate some serious time to getting your business off the ground.

Franchise Owner: The Good

As a franchise owner, you’re able to eliminate some of the stress that comes with being a traditional entrepreneur. Because you’re buying into a company that has already established branding, products, services and general marketing techniques or offers, you’re able to jump into the business world with a lot of the work done for you.

Being a franchise owner also gives you access to other owners of similar franchises. This kind of connection system can be extremely valuable to new business owners trying to build a successful company. Not only that, but you have a direct relationship with the franchisor. Owning a franchise can help you find a mentor and give you some real-world experience with running a business.

Franchise Owner: The Bad

There have been many debates as to whether or not being a franchise owner truly equates to being an entrepreneur. If you have dreams of calling the shots, creating your own business and selling a product you love, owning a franchise may not be the right decision for you.

As a franchise owner, you likely have employees you need to manage, orders you need to fill and a demanding schedule relying on you to give your all each and every day. The success of your company is also connected to those around you, meaning you may pay the price of a mistake by another franchisee or the franchisor. For mothers, especially those with young children, you may not have the time to dedicate to owning a franchise.

It’s up to You

Both owning an independent business or a franchise can bring unique benefits and drawbacks. Being an independent business owner can give you some more flexibility, but you’ll need to be incredibly focused and disciplined if you want your business to become more than just a hobby. On the other hand, owning a franchise can set you up with a business and team that wants to see you succeed, but it may mean a serious time commitment.

Knowing which is right for you depends on what you’re hoping to get out of the business-owning experience. Consider your needs and the needs of your family when making your decision.

Anum Yoon is a millennial money blogger and writer who absolutely loves sharing her insights on personal finance, lifestyle and health. You can read her financial tips on her blog, Current on Currency.