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If your credit rating is faltering or has hit rock bottom this year, there are ways that you can boost your credit scores.  It is important to take an honest look at your immediate circumstances and be real with yourself to move forward. 2015 is right around the corner and if you struggled all year or even over the last few years, these time-tested tips can give you a sense of order to move forward.

  1. Obtain all three copies of your credit report.

There are three main credit reporting agencies and not all companies will report to all three of them.  It is vital that you obtain copies of your credit report from all three agencies.  This way, if you have a problem on one report it may not necessarily show up on the other reports and you can still ward off any mistakes or issues.  Don’t just get a report from one of the major agencies, get all of them.

  1. Check your credit report often.

Experts advise checking your credit report at least once a year.  Some people, however, obtain their reports as often as every quarter.  It really depends on the activity and other factors as to how often you should check.  The common consumer who only has a few lines of credit can probably get away with checking less often.  It is important, though, to check your credit report so that you can ward off any problems, issues or even unauthorized activity.

  1. Delete your negative credit if possible.

If you have any negative credit such as delinquent accounts or slow payment history you need to work to bring it all current.  Credit repair is not as easy as it used to be, but you can pay on delinquent accounts to get them to a current status.  You should also begin to make regular, timely payments on a payment history that is slow or lagging.  If you can pay your delinquent accounts all at one time to bet them to a current status, but if that is not a possibility, you can pay on the accounts in increments and pay it a little at a time until current.

  1. Don’t close old accounts.

While you may be tempted to close old accounts, resist that temptation.  Keeping old accounts open and current will show as current accounts on your report.  This will show that you have active, good credit and will help to boost your rating.  The longer that you have revolving credit accounts with no negative reports, the better it makes your credit appear.  This translates to a better overall credit score.  Many credit experts advise that you keep a balance a balance or 30 percent of your credit limit.

  1. Pay your bills on time – always.

You may think that this tip is rather obvious, but it still stands to be repeated.  Your credit score can begin to decline even if you are only 30 days late in payment.  Even if you pay every month, if you pay late every month, you are still damaging your credit.  Your best bet is to make your payments on time every single month.

  1. Use credit to pay for credit.

This is an old, tried and true technique for credit building.  Get a secured credit card for “x” amount of dollars.  Once you receive your card, get a cash advance of 70 percent of your credit limit.  Do this with a second and third cards as well, using the cash advance from the previous card.  Open a checking account with the cash advance on the third card.  Use this checking account solely for making payments on your three cards.  Pay on time each month and your credit score will increase.  It may drop initially because of the three accounts taken out so quickly in succession, but within 4 months it will have rebounded and your score will be greater.

  1. Maintain different types of credit.

Diversify your credit with revolving accounts, unsecured loans and secured loans.  This shows that you are able to manage several different types of credit at once.  Get a vehicle, mortgage or personal loan so that you can have an installment loan on your credit report and charge cards give you the revolving credit.  This shows that you can handle short term credit, long term credit, fixed payments and variable monthly payments.

  1. Don’t file for bankruptcy.

While bankruptcy may seem like an easy way to get out of debt, resist the temptation.  Don’t file for bankruptcy or foreclosure; they remain on your credit report for 10 years and will cause your credit score to plummet.  However, the older a bankruptcy becomes (as long as it is combined with a credit history that is rebuilt), the less impact it will have on your credit score.

  1. Don’t open new lines of credit.

Do not open new lines of credit unless you absolutely must.  Every time that you apply for credit there is an inquiry that is placed on your report.  This often causes your credit score to drop slightly.  This is more important when you are just starting out or when you are rebuilding credit because you either show no payment history or a negative payment history.  That, combined with a lowered score can show you as a credit risks to creditors.

  1. Stay on top of all credit issues.

As soon as you realize that there is a problem with your credit, you need to take care of it as soon as possible.  When you are staying on top of your credit issues you can ward off problems that will destroy your credit score.  This strategy will also help you ward off fraudulent activity that may occur on your account due to thieves and identity theft.

When you use these tips to boost your credit rating you will see great results.  Your credit rating will improve with the structure you establish and you will have better access to credit if you never need it for emergencies. Emergencies can come at any time as we all know and your ability to some form of credit can truly help in a time of need.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

5 Ways to Address High Balances in Credit Card Use

Everyone wants low interest rate credit cards. I have conversations with my clients about what makes a credit card of value at any interest rate. Interest rates are often determined by well managed credit card balances and a strong credit score that lenders can see the likelihood of repayment. While that is incredibly key, most people still struggle with on-going high balances with their credit card use. in this article, you will learn 5 key points to use to help you better manage any credit cards you have already.

1. Keep more than one credit card. Credit cards are a tool to help in the event of emergencies like a car repair, medical costs, gas in a pinch, hotel booking, educational expenses, etc. The best way to manage is to simply designate a few cards for different uses. Some cards carry a great APR and it works for travel where you can pay it over time. Another card may carry an annual fee and a higher interest rate in which you may use it for shorter term use and monthly balance payoff.

2. Reduce department store credit card use. Department store credit card use is the most dangerous of all high credit card balance problems because of impulse shopping. With online buying now available with such ease like Amazon, Ebay, Macys and even Old Navy; shopping is a snap and also a trap! These types of cards always have much higher interest rates and annual fees.

3. Consider Balance transfer cards. You may right now need to re-structure some existing credit card debt. The fastest way is with a balance transfer credit card that will allow for the higher balance credit card limits that you cannot get a handle on. These types of cards can be a true life saver when you are only able to make the minimum payments and the interest you are carrying on each monthly balance is not getting smaller fast enough.

4. Pay monthly family expenses by debit card. We all get in the habit of paying everything with a credit card. We even buy groceries with a credit card and honestly, we shouldn’t. A debit card forces you to spend what you can account for in cash. It requires an eye on what is truly available to spend on anything and will get your attention to what is going on with your money. debit cards are free of the escalating fees of credit cards and are safer because the fees that due exist are firm fee costs.

5. Bi-monthly credit card payments can eliminate high balances.
Most people never think about what they can do to reduce their debt with a few extra dollars applied to their high interest credit card balance. This is not going to be as effective if you pay after the due date of the credit card bill. This is a winner if you do it before the credit card payment date and then pay one more time in the same month. Here is an example: Your ViSA credit card has a minimum payment due for $25.00 on the 15th of the month. You pay the $25.00 on the 13th and then pay another $25.00 on 29th of the month. This could reduce the interest accruing on your card considerably and be viewed by the bank as favorable account management. As you go along you are setting yourself up for a balance increase later on and a great argument for a reduction in the interest rate you are already paying on the credit card.

Dealing with overwhelm while in the home buying process

Buying a home can be incredibly stressful as there are many aspects to the process from getting prepared mentally to the money side of the preparedness. Here are some ways to ease your mind and keep you working towards that great goal. Here are 9 tips to keep you level-headed and able to keep up the demands of preparing for home ownership.

1. Stop, Breathe and Reset is necessary to grab your sanity in moments when everything seems like it is coming at you all at once.
Example: Take a quick walk. While taking in the sites and fresh air outdoors, you can capture some perspective and decompress.

2. Recognize that the “feeling” isn’t a real true emotion. It is a mind-trick and requires some mastery. It’s a form of fear and also known as False Evidence Appearing Real. Once you capture that and acknowledge it, it can be dealt with more effectively.

3. Meditate daily because life is crazy! Technology has changed the way we live, work and communicate. Buying a home has become very technologically advantaged with online home search sites and video. Knowing your triggers and the true nature that catching up is hard to do while the more you do is essential to your growth and priorities.

4. Mind map things out in your head. Strategize your steps, the details and the outcome. Communicate with your partners in your mind and those thoughts can help you ease any concerns.

5. Document what you want to see happen. Seeing yourself in a certain type of house, a desired neighborhood and even the color scheme of the interiors. Visualize it all. Ex. “I want a front yard with a porch in North Natomas that expands to accommodate for two lounge chairs and a cocktail table”

6. Remember that the situation to get through your financing is a timeframe and although it seems like forever, it is not. Underwriting can get sticky, funky and demanding of every intimate financial detail. It is the nature of the process. Just take it one step at a time. Ask lots of questions.

7. Focus on your own personal needs for your family situation. Buying a home most of time is a matter for those that care for others and/or plan to at some point. Family is one motivation to take on managing a home and building it financially. When you keep your family the focus, everything is worthwhile and restores any imbalance.

couple in front of one-family house in modern residential area

8. Understand the process and the expectation of closing your mortgage loan. There are many details to get prepared for a mortgage. The advertisements online, television and the junk mail you get at home, can overwhelm you. Speaking with a competent mortgage advisor makes all the difference.

9. Stick to your financial plan. Buying a home is a huge commitment and putting the money side of your goal system in place takes some serious review. While your saving for the down payment and closing costs, keep saving as much as possible. Don’t allow yourself to get off before the deal is done, documents are signed and you have the keys to your new home.

In conclusion, your success in working through the rigorous process of getting prepared for a mortgage to buy a home can be quite taxing and very stressful. Get GR8T Credit VIP has a program that has been extremely successful in helping clients get through the process from the credit to the loan. We walk your though it and have established real estate partnerships we work closely with that commit to your success. By a home with HBA and take the uncertainty out of achieving homeownership.

5 Important Reasons to Use Credit Monitoring Services

Credit problems often stem from a lack of knowledge of what value credit monitoring services provide. Their is tremendous value clients can get from keeping an eye on their credit reports with a 3 credit report and 3 scores membership from a reputable credit monitoring service. In this post I will highlight 5 Important Reasons to Use Credit Monitoring Services.

1. Learning what your report maintains about you is one of the most important factors. A credit monitoring service gives you first hand knowledge of anyone checking your credit. The proof is always going to show up when an application for credit is received in your name and identifying information. Inquiries reveal who and why such access was granted to your credit information.

2. Wonder whether a missed payment was recorded on a credit account? Maybe you feel the payment wasn’t applied properly when you wrote a check to the bank for the payment. It happens and the results will show up on your credit report. A credit monitoring service will provide a detail record of any missed payments.

3. Someone using your identity can happen so fast that most people don’t even know it is happening to them or happened at some point.
Identity theft is the leading most damaging reason a credit monitoring service is needed. You may feel well, “my credit is terrible, and if they get my credit nothing will happen becauase I can’t get a loan!”. I most tell you, a credit identity can be modified and identity thieves can still do damage because they can become you on some other level. It’s serious and happening everyday.

4. There are different types of credit monitoring services. Some offer identity theft protection, others provide and in depth analysis of accounts and creditors data. Not all services will provide a new monthly credit report update, but alerts should be part of your management tools. Alerts are a life-saver because if an account is flagged and frozen for a bad pin number, out of town use, or even unverified transactions. Alerts can stop you legitimately and a thief immediately.

5. Insuring your safety is another great benefit. Many companies will offer insurance for being a member in the event you need to file a claim for identity theft. Benefit amount may vary from $1 million to $3 million. The cost to clean it up can be daunting, however, depending on your records and the use of a credit monitoring services, you ability to tackle it can be successful.

A thief with a credit card vector illustration

Building high credit scores requires a lot of tools and this one of the smartest decisions you can use to guard yourself from the disasters that can ruin your credit and finances. This year can be your best year because you made the decision to be proactive to build your credit and move to new financial heights!

Want to learn more with specific steps and actions to restore and rebuild your damaged credit? I wrote a very unique and never revealed report on how to Build a Rock Solid Credit Profile and it includes a companion Checklist to help you gauge your progress.
This is one incredibly strategic tool you must understand to get where you want to be.

5 Last Minute Money Saving Tax Tips

Today is the last day to file for the 2015 tax year. Taxes for many is a daunting task and often confusing with all the newest changes in the tax code. Saving money is a tough effort and becoming more aware of avenues to help your tax returns is very important to your financial planning and management. In today’s post I share some reminders on how to capture last minute money savings tips when filing today.

Tax Day. 3d rendering isolated calendar with Tax Day text

Tax Day. 3d rendering isolated calendar with Tax Day text

1. IRA money added earlier this year can be counted in 2015. This is one of the few last minute money moves you can make and it can count today. This is helpful for the self-employed and those working in full time employment capacities that also contribute. Super Tax tip: You can even open a new account now and still get this benefit. Note: Roth IRA and the Traditional IRA are not the same. Roth is not deductible because it is funded after tax. Traditional IRA is deductible and depending on your contribution filing status, you can expect a deduction to reflect your adjusted gross income.

2. Child and Education Tax credits are huge and should not be overlooked. Be sure to capture yours, they are there to maximize your ability to take better care of your family and yourself while seeking an education. $6,269 is available to you as long as you can claim three or more children who qualify under 2016 EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit. $5,572 with two children who qualify.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a great incentive to help families save on education investment. The rising costs of education loans for many families is real and any help can be a tremendous benefit. $2,500 per student can be claimed at 100% of the first year of costs in college and then the following year 25% of the next $2000 can be claimed. These credits can be a great help for runaway expenses like books and supplies. Be sure to check the IRS website for more information.


3. Dependent Care and Child Tax Benefit is an amazing incentive for families that have someone in care that is dependent for life. Our aging care population is growing and more often than not, a family member is carrying a huge responsibility to sustain the care and well-being for someone unable to do it for themselves. The new credit is now 30% to 35% for 2015 tax year. Be sure to claim yours and not overlook this important benefit.

4. Tuition can be deducted. School is incredibly expensive as we know and if your concentrating on a graduate degree and still working, this tax credit can help you reduce your tax liability. Deductions can be as high as $4,000 for higher education and qualifying fees for you, your spouse and any of your dependents.


5. Student Loan Interest is also deductible and can also save you tons of money. $2,500 can be deducted and that is a very nice tax break. There are some income qualifiers that must be met which for this year is $65,000 is the maximum income for a single person and $130,000 for those that file jointly.

Filing on the last day can be traumatic when not sure all the areas that should be captured when seeking to save money. Families are busier than ever and often can overlook some of the deductions shared here or they are filing their own returns and need a reminder of the more recent changes.

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