As a former pension actuary, retirement saving is one of my favorite personal finance topics. I’ve written several posts on 401(k) vs IRA, and today I’ll be talking about the history of these retirement saving plans and making some observations about how the history affects the current retirement saving pictures.
My two-year anniversary with investing is around today. This means I have been owing you this post for 2 years. In the past 2 years, I have spent more time learning about investing and actually investing than doing anything else with my personal finance. And yet I have posted very moderately on investing. The reason is, investing is complicated. Very complicated. I did not feel comfortable sharing my meager knowledge and experience with you in fear of leading you astray in this complex universe. 2 years later, I finally feel that I have something to offer. Continue reading Investing: The mindset
The Visa credit card has a long and interesting history with a slew of different tiers that have come and gone. As of today, only two tiers remain: Visa Platinum, and Visa Signature. Sometime in the past, Visa Platinum was the premium Visa credit card, and before that, Visa Gold was the premium Visa card. Now the torch has been passed down to Visa Signature. Continue reading What is a Visa Signature credit card?
Your checking account is likely your most active financial account. Money flows through your checking account constantly: paychecks, refund checks, meal share cash, etc come in, and payments for credit card bills, rent, services, etc. go out. Continue reading The purpose of a checking account
I started saving for emergency fund even before having an idea of what it was about. To most people, the concept of an emergency fund is very intuitive. It is the money saved aside for emergency situations. Continue reading Emergency fund – the pillar of your personal finance
Today, after watching some NFL games, I suddenly became curious about bankruptcy, so I did a quick google search and the first figure I found was astonishing. According to official records, in 2013 there were over 1 million non-business bankruptcy filings. 1 million. 1,000,000. On average, for every 300 people in the US you know, 1 of them filed for personal bankruptcy last year. This figuratively blew my mind.
So the topic for my blog post today was quickly decided.
You know, life happens. Someone in your family falls critically ill and you have to borrow money to pay for medical expenses without being able to pay it back. You lose a job because of the financial crisis and can no longer pay your bills. I offer my condolences to those that have a legitimate reason to file for bankruptcy. The road ahead, credit-wise, is going to be tough. Bankruptcy stays on credit reports for up to 10 years, and this is not the kind of record you want on your credit profile. Lenders that see bankruptcy when reviewing your credit report will not be very likely to extend you credit.
So, if bankruptcy is inevitable, how can you minimize its negative impact on your credit?
After achieving a 760 FICO credit score, I thought the next milestone would be 800. Since there are multiple FICO scoring models that lenders use, an 800 FICO would almost guarantee me at least a 760 on other FICO models. My credit history length is hitting 3 years in January 2015, and my AAoA (average age of accounts) is going to reach 2 years in February 2015. Since FICO scores tend to increase at these factors’ milestones, my score is probably going to achieve the maximum in February 2015 before hitting the plateau. And since I have several credit inquiries from the auto loan applications in February 2014, in February 2015 when they drop off, I’ll have a decent shot at an 800 FICO.
2 years ago, when I had just started this blog, the Discover More was one of the first credit cards that I reviewed. Since then, Discover Financial Services has replaced the card with the Discover It which is in many ways the same as the Discover More. I personally still have the Discover More, but most people these days have already switched over to the Discover It. It is about time I reviewed the Discover It as well.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me if he should pay off his auto loan he had acquired years ago. While the interest rate on the loan is very low, less than 3%, he wanted to be free of debt and felt tempted to finish making monthly payments for the loan. He makes good income and is very disciplined about expenses, so paying the remaining balance would not cause any financial burden to him, and neither would maintain the monthly payments. His main concern was the impact on his credit.
I talked him out of it.