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How to Get out of Credit Card Debt

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  By: Greg McKinney Mineola Texas   The average consumer has an estimated $5,200 in credit card debt. If that sounds like you, know that you aren’t alone. But also know that there are ways to get to of it. The pandemic, loss of employment, and now inflation have made it hard for many households to stay afloat, but with the proper steps, you can get out of credit card debt and into financial security.  Create a Budget   The first step to getting out of credit card debt is to create a budget . You don’t know how much you have to pay toward your debt until you make and use a budget.   It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Use a spreadsheet, pen, and paper, or a free app like Mint , to create a budget.  A budget is simply a map of your income and expenses. It shows your total income and expenses, how much you spend, and where you should cut back to reach your financial goals.  If a part of your budget isn’t earmarked for savings and credit card debt payoff, it’s time to rewor

Emergency, Rainy Day and Sinking Funds – What are They and Why do you Need Them?

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  Emergency, Rainy Day and Sinking Funds – What are They and Why do you Need Them? By: Greg McKinney Mineola Texas Y ou’ve probably heard many terms thrown around when creating and using your budget. An emergency, rainy day, and sinking fund are just a few of the accounts personal finance experts use. What do they mean, and do you need all of them? Keep reading to find out how these funds work and who should consider them. What is an Emergency Fund? The name says it all. An emergency fund covers you in the face of an emergency. But what type of emergency? There are many ways to view an emergency fund, but the most common way is a fund to protect you should you lose your job or be unable to work for any other reason. Say, for example, your company closes unexpectedly. As a result, you suddenly lose your income; how will you cover your bills? A fully funded emergency fund could cover your expenses for three to six months. This gives you time to figure out your next steps with

Top 10 personal finance skills you need to master

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  Top 10 personal finance skills you need to master By: Greg McKinney Mineola Texas When it comes to your financial well-being, it not as important how much you earn, but it is very important how you manage your money! Unfortunately, money management is a skill that’s not taught in schools and it’s not something that always comes naturally.   You have to be aware of your spending patterns and make a conscious effort to change them if you want to master your finances. A lack of financial knowledge can lead to making some pretty bad decisions that can have a lasting impact on your life.   So, it's better to be safe than sorry and arm yourself with the proper skills and knowledge to help you make smart financial decisions. In this article, we will be sharing the top 10 personal finance skills you need to master.   It doesn't matter how old you are or how much money you make, these ten skills will help set you on the path to financial success! 1. Budgeting is your best frie

What Makes up a Credit Score?

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  What Makes up a Credit Score?  By: Greg McKinney Mineola TX Everyone has a credit score , but not everyone has a good credit score. Knowing what makes up these scores and how you can improve them is important. While perfect credit isn’t necessary, the higher you can get your score, the better rates and terms you’ll get on loans and personal finance products when you apply for them. Here’s what makes up your credit score. Payment History Your payment history makes up the largest part of your credit score and is the most important factor. Your payment history refers to how well you pay your bills on time and makes up 35% of your credit score. The credit bureaus work in increments of 30 days. If you miss a payment by 30 days, your credit score will drop quite a few points. If you don’t make up the payment by the time it hits 60 days late, your credit score drops again. This keeps going in 30-day increments until the creditor charges off the account and sends it to a collecti

What does it Mean to Refinance?

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  What does it Mean to Refinance? By: Greg McKinney Mineola Texas   You’ve likely heard of many people refinancing over the last year. With interest rates at rock bottom levels, most people took advantage and refinanced, but what does it mean and is it worth it when rates increase?   Even though interest rates are higher, millions of people are still refinancing. While lowering your interest rate is a great reason to refinance, there are other reasons too.   What is a Refinance?   When you refinance your mortgage, you pay off one mortgage with a new one. It’s the same process as when you bought your home. You must prove you can afford the loan and have the necessary qualifying factors.  Homeowners can refinance to lower their interest rate, change their loan term, or take equity out of their homes.  How Refinancing Works   When you refinance, everything happens behind the scenes, just like when you bought your home. Your lender orders a payoff to make sure your new loan a

10 Must-Know Factors about FHA Loans

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  10 Must-Know Factors about FHA Loans  By: Greg McKinney Mineola Texas FHA loans are a great loan for first-time homebuyers and even those that already owned a home before. They don’t require perfect credit and have other forgiving qualifying requirements that make it an easier loan to obtain.  If you’re thinking about buying a house and are considering FHA financing , here’s everything you must know.  1.     You can have a credit score as low as 580   FHA loans don’t require great credit. Unlike conventional loans which require a 660 or higher score, you can get approved with a credit score as low as 580.   This falls under the ‘fair’ category in the credit tiers, which for most lenders would be a reason to decline your application, but FHA loans allow it.  2.     You can get an FHA loan with a 500-credit score and a 10% down payment   Here’s even better news. If you have a lower credit score but have a large down payment, you might get approved for FHA financing. 

7 Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

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  7 Ways to Improve your Credit Score By Greg McKinney Mineola Texas  A good credit score gets you far in life. Whether you’re applying for a new job, applying for new credit, or need to start new utilities or insurance, your credit score is a factor.  You can get access to your credit score from most banks and credit card companies. Most financial institutions offer free access if you activate the program. The credit score may not be exactly what other lenders see, but you’ll get an idea of where your credit stands.  If you find out that you don’t have great credit, it’s easy to improve it with these simple steps.  1.     Check your credit report often   Everyone gets free access to their credit report here . Since the pandemic, they’ve allowed free weekly access to your credit report. You may not have to check it quite that often but set regular intervals to pull your credit reports and check the information. Each credit bureau (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) has a di