So glad to know we aren’t the only ones who find credit scores thrilling...
*Market indexes are the value of certain stocks which represent the overall stock market. Learn more here.*
S&P 500 (Standard’s & Poor 500): Made up of the 500 most widely-traded stocks in the U.S. -57.31 (-2.06%).
If you’re the type who gets easily nauseous, stay away from the markets. They’ve been up and down like crazy this week, and with several major banks set to release their earnings reports from the last three months today, we could see big waves for a while.
IN THE NEWS:
And this week’s award for biggest contribution to fight climate change goes to...Exxon Mobile! It sounds wrong, we know. But it’s true. Exxon Mobile Corp., the global oil company that has spent years publicly questioning the validity of global warming, just committed $1 million to fighting climate change. The money will go directly to an advocacy group called Americans for Carbon Dividends that is lobbying for a carbon emissions tax, which would force companies to pay for their carbon emissions. What explains Exxon’s change of heart? For starters, the company has been getting loud criticism in recent years for telling the public climate change wasn’t real when their own scientists knew that it was. Add that to the fact that $1 million is only 0.00027% of Exxon’s $366 billion and the donation starts to seem like smart PR. Strategic investment or not, you won’t hear complaints from our corner - the fight against climate change can use the extra mil.
While we’re talking big spending, CVS has one-up on Exxon. This week the nation's largest drugstore chain was approved to buy Aetna, the nation’s 3rd largest healthcare company at a sticker price of $69 billion. Go ahead. Get impressed. It’s the largest deal to ever occur in the health insurance industry, and it could revolutionize your healthcare future. CVS is hoping to mimic Apple’s success with the Genius bar and provide fast and convenient healthcare, including medicine, diagnosis, test results, vaccinations, and even diet advice in its stores. So...faster, cheaper healthcare? Yo. We’re there.
MONEY TRICKS ANYONE CAN TRY:
*Do you have money tricks to add to the pile? Drop us a line.*
Compete with Cash: If you’re the type who loves dominating at contests, get ready to save big. Call up your bestie, or a few besties, and challenge them to a month-long savings competition. Pick an easy savings goal, like spending the least on coffee, or paying off extra on your student loans, and compete for the full month. And at the end of the month, compare your results, and go out to celebrate your savings! Runner-up gets the tab.
DEFINITION OF THE DAY
Credit Score: A score you are given based on your financial history to determine if you can be approved for credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc. and how high your fee for borrowing the money will be (i.e. your interest rate).
If we were taking nominations for the most important numbers in your life, credit score would definitely be in the mix. This one number influences what you can buy, how much you pay, and what you get in return. But who assigns you this fateful number? And how? Read on.
What goes into my score? Today we’re talking about FICO, the scoring method used 90% of the time. Other methods look at similar factors, but calculate your score a little differently. The lion’s share of your FICO score (35%) is payment history, meaning paying your bills on time. Next up (30%) is how much you owe, which includes both your overall credit card debt and whether you’re maxing out your cards regularly. The loose change is made up of how long you’ve had a credit history (15%), if you have a good mix of different kinds of debt (10%), and how much credit you’ve applied for recently (10%). Take a deep dive into those categories here.
Who’s keeping score? There are three different agencies that do credit rating: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, so you actually have three separate credit scores. Plus, they each use FICO plus a couple other methods, so in theory you could have even more scores. Whoever your score gets checked through gets to decide which agency to use, and which scoring method.
What is a good credit score? The lowest possible score is 300, highest is 850. Each company will have their own standards for what they accept, but in general 750+ is excellent credit, and 700-749 is good. 650-699 is fair (meh), and below 600 means no dice for most loans.
Who checks my credit score? Lots of people! Credit card companies, mortgage and loan companies, landlords, and insurance companies are some biggies, but essentially anyone who is trusting you with big money or big possessions might take a look at your score.
How can I improve my credit score? We promised we would talk about this today, but we flaked! We needed to cover some basic credit deets first but we triple-pinky-promise (you know we’re good for it) that next week will be all about improving your score. Thanks for hangin’.
*This section is not sponsored by any third parties. These are our pure, honest opinions on what we think is easy and works best!*
If you read all that and aren’t itching to know what your score is, you’ve got mad cool. For the rest of us, you can check out your score for free here. You do not have to enter a credit card, and it won’t hurt your credit. Remember, if you don’t like what you see, come find us next week for tips on how to drive that score up, up, up.