American Shopping Holidays; 25 Facts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last year, about 137 million Americans – about half of our adult population – flocked to malls, shops, and their favorite retailers on Black Friday. They’re spending big bucks, as U.S. consumers will throw down about $61.4 billion in sales this year, up from $41 billion in 2008. (In total, we’re expected to spend about $682 billion this holiday season!)

The name “Black Friday” actually came ...

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How often should you check your credit?

When was the last time you checked your credit? Was it six months ago? The last time you refinanced or purchased your home? Or even years ago, so far back you’re not even sure?

Well, just like getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist, getting your oil changed, and filing your taxes, you should be checking your credit report carefully at regular periods.

However, studies show that ...

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In Debt we Trust?

I came across a statistic the other day that gave me pause and made me reflect upon what so many people are doing wrong when it comes to their finances.

According to recent surveys, about 50% of Americans die completely broke.

Even worse, most people pass away not only with a net worth of zero but addled with significant debt. In many cases, that debt obligation is then ...

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Are you (or your partner) committing financial infidelity?

Money and relationships are inextricably tied, each exerting significant influence upon the other. Don’t believe me? In 2009 – during the dark days of the real estate crash and Great Recession – there were more foreclosures than marriages in the U.S.

I know what you’re thinking – there we an unprecedented number of foreclosures at that time, but the data on divorces during those financial hard ...

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Equifax Data Breach: The Facts and What to Do

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.

Whether your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a ...

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EquiHACK! Here’s why you should be seriously angry.

Last week, the credit bureau Equifax made a shocking announcement: they’ve been hacked. Not only has the cyber security at one of the nation’s three biggest credit bureaus breached, but the personal data of up to 143 million of its customers was compromised – which is about half of all U.S. consumers.

According to reports of the hack, the information that cyber-criminals obtained from Equifax’s database ...

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Identity theft hits an all-time high: are you protected?

Are you safe from identity theft or other financial fraud from someone assuming your identity? You may think everything is perfectly fine and that no one is using your identity to open up new credit cards, commandeer debit cards, or take over your financial accounts, but if you haven’t checked your credit report lately, you may be in for an unnerving surprise.

In fact, identity theft, ...

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Why that “free” credit score you just got is probably useless

Navigating the credit score landscape is sometimes treacherous for consumers, with so much confusing and seemingly contradicting information about scoring models, multiple credit bureaus, reporting guidelines, and plenty of websites offering “free” credit scores.
In fact, when someone clicks on one of those offers to view their credit score, they will quickly find out that the free offer:

1) Isn’t free, and

2) Also may not be ...

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Cue the band, roll out the red carpet and drop the confetti…America’s average credit score just hit 700!

Cue the band, roll out the red carpet, and drop the confetti, because America just got some great (credit score) news: the average U.S. FICO score has reached 700.

FICO, which is one of several credit scoring models but also the most widely used one by lenders, including mortgage lenders, reported that the average score hit 700 for the first time ever. FICO scores are based on a 300-850, and lenders and creditors usually consider above 740 as “prime” credit, giving ...

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