Debt consolidation can lead to an improvement in your credit rating by making your debt easier to manage. Sometimes, debt consolidation means taking a loan at a lower interest rate to pay off several smaller loans at higher interest rates. Making one payment instead of many may help you keep your debt under better control, make it easier for you to make timely payments, and thus improve your credit rating.
It's the old catch-22. You cannot establish a credit history without having credit, and you cannot get credit without a credit history. But if you work at it, this problem can be overcome. While you create a history, be sure your efforts will be reported to the credit bureaus.
Your credit score is simply a statistical estimation of how likely you are to pay your debts and, by extension, how much credit you should have. Everyone is different – everyone has a different history, different experiences. But have you ever wondered how you compare to other Americans?
By April 19, 2019, 137million taxpayers had dutifully filed their federal income tax returns.1 And they all made decisions about deductions and credits – whether they realized it.
What is credit?
When you say you want credit, you are probably asking for payment terms on a purchase. You are seeking to purchase goods or services today and forego all or a portion of the payment until a later date. You may or may not be bound by a payment plan. You may or may not be required to pay a percentage of the purchase price up front (down payment). You may or may not pay a fee (interest) in exchange for the privilege of buying now and paying later. In all cases, you are making a purchase and being trusted to make final payment at some time in the future.
Why is credit so important?
Credit provides you with financial flexibility and security
One landmark study found that credit-based insurance scores are used by about 95 percent of all auto and home insurers in calculating the cost of insurance to individuals.¹
While the vast majority of insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine the price of insurance, it is banned in the states of Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California. Some states only allow it as a factor for property insurance like auto and homeowners insurance. Other states allow it to be used with any type of insurance.
When it comes to planning for your retirement income, it's easy to overlook some of the common factors that can affect how much you'll have available to spend. If you don't consider how your retirement income can be impacted by investment risk, inflation risk, catastrophic illness or long-term care, and taxes, you may not be able to enjoy the retirement you envision.
Children are a special blessing and their arrival brings boundless love and joy into our lives that you can't put a price on. But adding a child to the household impacts the family budget--and women especially—in very measurable ways. Whether this is your first child or your fourth, here are some financial matters to think about and plan for before and after baby arrives.
When investing in a mutual fund, you may have the opportunity to choose among several share classes, most commonly Class A, Class B, and Class C. This multi-class structure offers you the opportunity to select a share class that is best suited to your investment goals. The only differences among these share classes typically revolve around how much you will be charged for buying the fund, when you will pay any sales charges that apply, and the amount you will pay in annual fees and expenses.
Understanding fees and expenses
Before you can compare share classes, you need to understand the costs that are associated with mutual funds, since these costs are usually deducted from the money you've invested and can affect the return of your investment over time.
Typically, mutual fund costs consist of sales charges and annual expenses. The sales charge, often called a load, is the broker's commission deducted from your investment when you buy the fund or when you sell it. The annual expenses are asset-based fees that cover the fund's operating costs, including management fees, service fees, and 12b-1 fees (which cover distribution and marketing expenses). The expenses are generally computed as a percentage of your assets and then deducted from the fund before the fund's returns are calculated.
So which share class should you choose? The answer to that depends on two factors: how much you want to invest and your investment time horizon.
Class A shares
Class A shares may appeal to you if you're considering a long-term investment in a large number of shares. When you purchase Class A shares, a sales charge, called a front-end load, is typically deducted upfront, reducing the amount of your investment. Suppose you decide to spend $35,000 on Class A shares with a hypothetical front-end 5% sales load. You will be charged $1,750, and the remaining $33,250 will be invested.
However, Class A shares also offer you discounts, called breakpoints, on the front-end load if you buy shares in excess of a certain dollar amount. Typically, a fund will offer several breakpoints; the more you invest, the greater the reduction in the sales load. For example, a mutual fund may charge a load of 5% if you invest less than $50,000, but reduce that load to 4.5% if you invest at least $50,000 but less than $100,000. This means that if you invest $49,000, you'll pay $2,450 in sales charges, but if you invest $50,000 (i.e., you reach the first breakpoint), you'll pay only $2,250 in sales charges.
Comparing Share Classes