Answering your top 10 questions about credit scores.

1. What is considered a good credit score?
Unfortunately, there isn’t just one credit score because there are several credit reporting agencies, each with their own scoring model and number range. Some go as high as 990, but the scoring system used by FICO (the Fair Isaac Corporation) is most popular. FICO scores range from 300-850 and a 680 is considered good and above 720 an excellent credit score.

2. Will paying off debt and closing credit cards help my score?
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Proceed with caution when taking out predatory payday loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal consumer watchdog group, just released plans to further regulate payday lending, a practice that’s viewed as predatory to consumers. While payday loans are certainly popular, they are oft criticized as charging exorbitant fees and interest rates, setting up borrowers to fail and setting them further back financially. Even President Obama lent his support to the idea of further regulation that would help protect consumers.

“If you lend out money, you have to first make ...

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Kardashians, presidents, and ping pong players; 10 factors that determine our pay.

Let’s take a look at the bank accounts and pay stubs of three prominent people in America. One works for a good company, has a college degree, works almost 50 hours a week if you add in commuting and overtime, and makes $49,000 a year. The second person has probably the most important job in the country, works 20-hour days for four year spells at a time, and earns about $400,000 every year. The third person doesn’t really work at ...

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The bottom line on tipping.

Pete Wells, a renowned restaurant critic for the New York Times, recently called for the end of tipping, setting off a firestorm of debate and diverging opinions. Has the practice of leaving gratuity for good service grown out of control? Are you obligated to tip only for good service? Or has tipping become a mandatory social contract? Should we indeed abolish it all together? But what about the waiters, waitresses, delivery people, and 70% of our American working force ...

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The great American savings drought.

The terrain is drying up like never before, with no sign of relief or reversal. But we’re not talking about California’s scorching water shortage, we’re referring to the financial landscape and the great American savings drought, as people are saving less and less money for a rainy day. In fact, new studies show the current personal savings rate is only about 2% in the U.S., near an all-time low.

The savings rate bottomed out at 1.5 percent in 2005 before it took an ...

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