Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Credit Cards For People With Bad Credit

I'm not one who plays close attention to credit card offers or constantly applies for new cards to get the sign up bonuses. I tend to find a few cards that provide good rewards for my needs and stick with those. There are many websites devoted to tracking credit card offers and rate and promos. NerdWallet in particular does a yearly roundup of such deals.

The cards with the best offers or bonus tend to be mainly for people with good credit. What do you do if your credit is not so good or even outright bad? For those people, finding a credit card is less about finding one that provides good perks, but more about finding one at all or one without a crazy high interest rate.

A Great Credit Card Guide

U.S. News & World Report has recently published what is the most comprehensive guide for credit cards for people with poor credit that I have seen. You can check it out here. It's a lengthy read, but full of good information, especially if you have poor credit and are looking for advice on how to improve it.

The article starts at the beginning, defining what a credit score is, how to get yours, and how to improve it. It then moves on to specific credit cards to look at and compare. What I really like is the article also lists what credit cards to avoid.

If you have poor credit and are looking for ways to change that, this article is well worth the time it takes to read and study.

New Credit Card Offer

Despite having started this post saying I don't follow credit card offers too closely, I will say I received an announcement for one that made me sit up and take notice. USAA has come out with a new card that offers either 1.5% cash back on all purchases or 2.5% cash back on all purchases. This caught my eye because most cash back card will give you 2% back on all purchases, sometime up to 5% from specific stores that change each quarter. That extra 0.5% could add up! (Note: The higher return requires a checking account with direct deposit at USAA.)

Not everyone will qualify for this. Besides the regular credit card approval process, you also have to be eligible to join USAA. This generally means you or someone in your family must have been in the military at some point. Full eligibility details can be found here.

I use USAA for insurance and some banking. They are a great company with fantastic customer service. *


So what do you think? Do you have poor credit? If so, what are you doing, if anything, to improve it?

* Although I have not received any compensation for anything mentioned in this post, please see my disclosure statement for full details.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Goal Update: End Of July 2017

At the end of each month, I post an update of my goals, including a brief discussion of any notable events that might have occurred during the month. The latest month's figures can always be found under the Featured menu in the menu bar at the top of the blog.

Last updated: End of July, 2017
Current value: $32,282
Change from last month: +$621
Percent of Goal:  30.26%

Note that the funds in this account are invested in stock, so there will be fluctuations in value that are outside my control. I never withdraw money from this account, so any dips are purely due to stock price changes.

Events Of Note Last Month:

I saw an increase of $621 this month. Net income from my online courses was $117.68. No news on the hard money front. My partner still has more money than he has deals to invest in. Last month, I mentioned I was thinking about investing in RealtyShares. I haven't pulled the trigger on that, mainly because I've been busy moving to Washington and selling my house. I haven't had much time for research.

I'm also looking at generating income from selling cash-backed puts. This means someone pays me for the right to buy their shares of stock at a certain price. The folks at Early Retirement Now have done a good job writing about this strategy here. Check it out for more info. Right now, I'm testing the waters by just trading on paper and seeing how things work out.

I don't have enough funds to invest in both RealtyShares and cash-backed puts, so I've got to make a decision on which I want to do.

Relocation Update

My house closes escrow on Thursday. At this point, all appears to be going well. The house inspection is over and we worked out a deal where I credit the buyer with about $750 instead of me making some repairs he wanted. Then, because the buyer is getting a VA loan, there was another requirement from the VA that I re-paint the stem wall, which had some paint that was peeling off. The quote for this was $275 and the buyer didn't want to pay it, which I felt was ridiculous. It's his lender demanding the repair. He was ok with it not being painted because he didn't ask for it after his inspection. But whatever. He agreed to split the cost with me, so I'm ending up only crediting him with $612.50 instead of $750.

Last week, I packed up my daughter, dog, and a bunch of our stuff and made the three day drive to Washington. Our Prius was pretty full!

My dog wonders what's going on.

Net Worth Update 

After dropping, $7,788 last month, our net worth rose in July by $7,618, so we're pretty much back where we started two months ago.

June 2017July 2017
Note: categorizes our HELOC as a credit card debt, not a loan, hence the apparently high credit card balance.

If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, please drop me a line in the comments section!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's Moving Week!

No post this week. We're moving to Washington!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Two News Stories That Illustrate How Stupid People Can Be With Money

Look, I know not everyone is a financial genius. I'm certainly not. But I would like to think that most people have some basic level of knowledge, some grasp of rudimentary concepts of what constitutes a good or bad financial decision. A financial equivalent, if you will, of common sense. Like "poking yourself in the eye is bad."

Sadly, the astoundingly high levels of credit card debt the average American carries (over $8,000!) seems to indicate otherwise.

The First Story

Take this story, published, appropriately enough, on the Fourth Of July:

The average length of an auto loan reached 69.3 months in June. That's over five and three-quarters years! For a car loan!

Let me put this another way: That's an almost six year loan to pay for something that has a crazy high depreciation rate! Someone who takes an auto loan for this amount of time will be underwater on the loan immediately and will continue to be underwater for probably 3.5 years, minimum. Yay, America!

I know not everyone can pay cash for a car. I get that it's tough to save money. But come on! If you have to take out a six year car loan in order to get the monthly payments to be something you can afford, then guess what? YOU CAN'T AFFORD THE CAR!

The Second Story

This one is even worse. Actually, there are a couple headlines, but they all say the same thing:

Sweet mother of god!

Are you serious?

People are actually putting their retirement savings into a virtual currency? Into.. nothing?! Why don't you just invest your life savings in tulips?

I have no words. When you start seeing headlines like these, you know we are in a bubble.

Please please please. PLEASE. Do NOT invest your retirement savings in cryptocurrency!

I'm not saying cryptocurrencies won't last or won't take off. In the interest of full disclosure, I recently purchased a bit of one cryptocurrency - Etherium. But I bought a small amount using money I could afford to lose. I bought it with gambling money, not my retirement savings!

Because that's what cryptocurrencies are right now - a gamble!

How'd you like to have your retirement savings invested in Etherium and wake up to this (actual) headline:

Come people. Start making smart financial decisions. Stop poking yourself in the eye.