For most of my life, I could afford to use my credit for shopping, cars, and trips. I had finally reached the point where I was saving up for a downpayment on a new house. Unfortunately, there was economic downturn and as a result, I lost my job. I had an emergency fund, but after that was gone, I dipped into my house fund and eventually burned through my savings. Soon after, I found myself buried in debt that I couldn't pay off. Then the phone calls started and I was constantly getting bombarded from debt collectors from unpaid credit card bills and I lost the ability to borrow or any line of credit from a bank. I was on the verge of losing everything I had worked so hard to get.
So, when confiding in some of my buddies about my financial situation, I was surprised to learn about Lexington Law. One of my friends promised they'd be able to help me take control of my financial issues, and get my life back in order, but I was pretty skeptical. He told me their team of lawyers uses legal strategies to challenge creditors about items on your report which helps improve your credit score. With nowhere else to turn, I decided to check them out.
I learned that they are a leading credit repair law firm that systematically uses the law to help eliminate negative entries on credit reports, and they have a method to help drive up credit scores. This all sounded great, but I was still a bit skeptical about how they could help me take control of my finances. After learning that Lexington Law removes an average of 10 items off your credit report in the first 4 months , and has a credit-coaching program teaching clients how to improve and maintain a higher credit score, I decided to give them a try.
Getting started was simple. I gave them a call and the representative answered my questions with patience and knowledge. She made me feel confident about improving my credit score, and explained that Lexington Law would send challenge letters requiring creditors to respond or refute. If they're unable to make a case, the items will be removed from my credit report.
After the first three months, seven items were removed from my credit score. During this time, communicating with my representative was easy with access to my personal online dashboard. The dashboard allowed me to see my credit score from all three bureaus along with the positive and negative items impacting my credit. The best part was that I could even challenge items on my report directly from the dashboard. Each time I made a challenge, my representative would get an alert, and she and her team would begin working on them right away. Watching the items get removed from my credit report made me feel like I was taking control of my finance.
For many people, their credit score does not accurately describe what kind of person they are. Despite being a conservative spender, I have faced many years of financial distress. I'm glad I decided to learn more about Lexington Law and was able to turn around my score. Working with them for even a short period of time, they helped me get rid of the big blemishes on my credit report. My goal this year is to make the next big purchase in my life (buying a house), and Lexington Law has made that possible for me.
Update: Lexington Law is offering our readers free credit repair consultation, which includes a complete review of your FREE credit report summary and score. You can follow this link, or call 1-833-825-3700 to take advantage of this no-obligation offer.
Call anytime between 7am and 11:59pm EST to get your free credit report and score!
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.