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Author Archives: Guest Post

2 of America’s Largest Debt Collectors Will Refund $60 Million to Consumers

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Two of the nation’s largest debt collectors must refund nearly $ 60 million to consumers and stop trying to collect on another $ 128 million in debts, after an action filed by federal regulators Wednesday. San Diego-based Encore Capital Group and Virginia-based Portfolio Recovery Associates are accused of pressuring consumers with false statements and churning out lawsuits using robo-signed court ... Read More »

    Don’t Wait Until 2016 to Make a Credit Resolution

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    I get a lot of puzzled looks when I start wishing people Happy New Year after Labor Day — 2016 is four months away, after all. While the Jewish New Year is in two weeks, I’m not talking about that, either. (But since I mentioned it: Happy New Year to you and yours!) I’m talking about the start of a ... Read More »

      The Rule of 72


      Who wants to buy one car for the price of two? All you have to do is get a loan for six years at a 12% interest rate, and pay it off as scheduled. Gross, isn’t it? Actually it’s compound interest. It’s bullish if you’re getting it, but a real beast if you’re the one paying it. Most people know ... Read More »

        How to Help Syrian Refugees Without Getting Scammed

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        Five years of conflict in Syria have displaced more than half of that country’s population of 22.85 million, and, according to Amnesty International, more than 4 million Syrian refugees have fled to five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. An increase in news coverage of people scrambling to cross European borders — and the trauma they experience en route — ... Read More »

          Most Students Don’t Get How Bad It Is to Miss Loan Payments

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          Missing a loan or credit card payment is one of the worst things you can do to your credit score. It not only has the greatest impact on your credit score, your payment history is also easily tarnished and takes a long time to rehabilitate — a single late payment could cost you dozens of (even 100!) points. Once you miss the ... Read More »

            Welcome to Shoulder Season: When Travelers Can Pay Way Less

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            When it comes to traveling, most people are familiar with the ideas of peak seasons and off-seasons — that taking a vacation is generally more popular (and more expensive) in July than in January. Between those extremes is shoulder season, the not-quite-best (or worst) time to go to specific destinations, which means there may be deals to score by booking ... Read More »

              Why My Kid’s School is Teaching Her to Shill Cookie Dough


              It’s a simple sales formula that would make any door-to-door salesman proud: Play on a customer’s emotions and you’ll likely get a sale. It works with magazine subscriptions, Girl Scout cookies and even cookie dough. Cute + cookie dough = sale. It’s automatic. If cookie dough, cheap jewelry, Oreo churros and expensive candles, among other junk from Believe Kids, are ... Read More »

                16 Ways You May Be Exposing Yourself to Fraud

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                Stand in front of a mirror. There’s the enemy. Fraud doesn’t happen to you in a vacuum. Our personally identifying information (PII) doesn’t just get magically swiped. We “swipe” our information all the time, and it’s time to stop. The world runs on information, and no amount wishful thinking will fully extricate you from that. But there are some best ... Read More »

                  Dvorkin on Debt: Don’t Loan Alone


                  The student loan crisis has become so critical, it’s burdening students before they even graduate. With more than $ 1.2 trillion in student loan debt wracking this country — much more than the $ 854 billion in credit card debt — it’s no surprise that many graduates in the workforce are suffering. The latest poll, last month from Bankrate,  found that “56 percent ... Read More »

                    10 Million Compromised in Another Major Health Insurer Breach

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                    Health insurer Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced Wednesday it was the target of a cyberattack that may have compromised personally identifying information of its members — multiple news reports say more than 10 million members may have been affected. The New York-based insurer said the breach dates back to December 2013 (it was discovered Aug. 5 of this year) and concerns ... Read More »

                      How I’m Paying Off $155K of Student Loans From Pharmacy School

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                      Medical professionals often leave school with jaw-dropping amounts of student loan debt. Among 2014 graduates from medical school, for example, most (84%) reported having education debt, with a median amount just over $ 176,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Even if they earn high incomes when they graduate (physicians, for example, are among the highest earners in America), ... Read More »

                        Why Everyone Needs a Will (I’m Talking to You, Millennials)

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                        If you think estate planning is for only the elderly or wealthy individuals, think again. Everyone has collected some stuff, what professionals like to call assets, possessions, investments — and don’t forget the liabilities (debt), like student loans, car or credit card balances. Even if you do not think you have much, it’s important to have a plan for what ... Read More »

                          VA Home Loan Changes: Cutting the Red Tape?

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                          Whenever Duan Rockette meets a prospective client, the St. Louis real estate agent asks a simple question: Did you serve? That isn’t a question many real estate and mortgage professionals asked just a few years ago. But VA home loans, which require 0% down, have boomed since the housing crash, driven by a combination of tight credit and sputtering incomes. ... Read More »

                            2 Bureaus Corrected My Credit Report, But the Third Won’t. What Can I Do?

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                            One of the most common concerns we hear from readers is that their credit report contains errors or information they don’t understand or recognize. There are a number of reasons wrong information could be on your credit report, but the solution is often to dispute the information with the credit bureaus to get it removed from your report. But for ... Read More »

                              Ask The Expert: How Do I Dump A Cheap Jeep?

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                              Question:  I financed a 2014 Jeep Compass and three times already went in for service for the same problem to no avail each time. I still have the same problem — and this is supposed to be new car with less than 9,000 miles. What do you advise? — Johnson in Pennsylvania Howard Dvorkin CPA answers… Cars and homes are often the ... Read More »

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