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Many Faces of ID Theft

Fri, 30 May 2014 16:11:41 +00002014-05-30T16:11:41Z

You probably know that identity theft is something to be avoided, but do you have a clear idea of what it is?With all of the recent data breaches, it might be helpful to review what thieves are going after and what you need to watch for.

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Skip the "Skip Payment" Offers

Fri, 23 May 2014 04:41:41 +00002014-05-23T04:41:41Z

A little extra cash never hurts. Lenders know that you'd enjoy a break, so they occasionally offer to let you skip a payment. These offers are common around the winter holidays, but you'll also get the "opportunity" to skip a payment in summer months (presumably for a summer vacation).

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Your Brain and your Money

Mon, 19 May 2014 13:32:35 +00002014-05-19T13:32:35Z

It may seem obvious, but it's worth spending time thinking about: your behavior is one of the most important determinants of your financial security.

At the extremes, there's more at work (if you earn a very low income or have extremely high medical expenses, for example), but for most people it's all about behavior. High income-earners can be deep in debt, while modest income-earners can retire early. The most secure people have figured out a way to manage their spending and saving and reach their goals.

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Which Deposits are Available Quickly?

Tue, 13 May 2014 08:32:37 +00002014-05-13T08:32:37Z

When you deposit funds to your bank account, you might have to wait a while before spending the money. Banks take several days to make funds "available" for withdrawal, so it's always a good idea to check your available balance before writing a check or making purchases with your debit card.

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Different Loans, Different Features

Thu, 08 May 2014 08:18:00 +00002014-05-08T08:18:00Z

All loans are not created equal. The concept is the same with all loans (you get some money and you pay back more than you got), but different types of loans function differently.

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Sometimes Debt is Helpful

Tue, 06 May 2014 08:05:07 +00002014-05-06T08:05:07Z

Being debt-free sounds great: no more monthly payments, no money wasted on interest costs, and no worrying about how you'll stay on top of all of your bills.

Some people make an effort to pay off all their loans early, close credit cards, and live without any type of debt. While that's an impressive feat that shows you take your finances seriously, it might backfire one day. Once you stop using "debt" (in quotes because you don't necessarily have to pay interest), your credit files grow a little dusty, and your credit scores may begin to suffer. For some people, that's no problem - they hate the idea of playing the credit score game. Others may find that they want to borrow money someday down the road, but lenders are unwilling to approve them because of their thin credit.

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Doing Well by Doing Good

Thu, 01 May 2014 18:10:06 +00002014-05-01T18:10:06Z

If you work in public service, you might not earn as much as your peers in the private sector. There are plenty of exceptions, but in general, teachers and firefighters don't earn the highest incomes in the land. They are rewarded in other, non-financial ways, and there are even some financial perks that only public servants can enjoy.

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Some Student Loans due at Co-Signer's Death

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:35:51 +00002014-04-22T18:35:51Z

Usually it's helpful to have a co-signer. That person allows you to qualify for a loan that you otherwise wouldn't receive by promising to repay the loan if you are unable or unwilling to do so. Unfortunately, having a co-signer might be a liability years later -- even if you've been making payments on time.

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Ways to Protect your Credit

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:43:32 +00002014-04-18T16:43:32Z

With all of the data and security breaches lately, you may wonder what you can do to protect yourself from identity theft.

The main thing is to keep an eye on your account activity and check your credit reports regularly. If you want to step it up a notch (or more), you can also take measures to protect your credit information. Experian just published a nice infographic that explains how you can do that and compares the features of two approaches: a credit freeze and a fraud alert.

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Breaches and Bugs Last a Long Time

Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:04:34 +00002014-04-15T18:04:34Z

Heartbleed is the latest threat to your identity and online security, and it's worth paying attention to. However, as in many cases, there's little that you can do besides monitor your accounts for suspicious activity (and change passwords after websites have updated their systems).

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