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What You Need to Consider When Renting a Car on Your Next Vacation

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The long overdue vacation is finally booked. Plane tickets are bought, and you found someone to watch your plants, take care of your pets, and retrieve the mail. All that’s left are the final details of the trip itself, including possibly renting a vehicle. One of the big questions when renting a vehicle is whether to purchase rental insurance. You know they’re going to ask you at the rental car counter, but you should have some information in hand before you answer that question. See what coverage you already have If you have already have cheap car insurance and you’re planning a trip, the first thing you should do before traveling is look at your car insurance policy. “If you’ll be using a rental vehicle, make sure your policy affords coverage for a rental vehicle,” said Dan Rosenow, associate director of compliance for Dairyland Auto®. “You may have to endorse your policy with rental vehicle coverage, or you may want to take out coverage at the rental vehicle facility.” Whether a rental vehicle is covered can vary from policy to policy, so the only way to know for sure is to call your insurance carrier, read your policy in full, … Read more

Mantras for Getting Out of Debt

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If you can imagine it, you can do it. After all, everything human beings have ever created was first an inkling in someone’s imagination. Here’s the thing though, before you can do anything, you have to believe you can. In other words, the way we think ultimately determines our ability to achieve. This is true for many aspect of our lives, including eliminating debt. With that in mind, repeating these mantras for getting out of debt will help you learn to believe you can live free of debilitating financial obligations. “I Will Stop Borrowing Money.” This one is key. Making a conscious decision to stop financing your lifestyle with borrowed money will help you get rid of debt and stay out of it. This means no more signing up for “hot” credit card deals and no more buying furniture and appliances “on time”. Once you make the decision to live within your means, you’ll find many ways to enjoy a satisfying life without borrowing. “I Will Save at Least $1000 as an Emergency Fund.” We often wind up getting into debt to stave off an unexpected expense, such as a car accident for which we must pay a deductible or … Read more

Is It Enough: How Much Coverage Should You Have for Your Business?

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Even if your business is small, it’s generally recommended that you err on the side of being over-insured. One little gap in coverage can lead to collapse, particularly if you’re the sole owner of your business. If you want to avoid closing for good, the very first step is making sure you have the right amount of business insurance.   How Do You Determine Coverage? Look at the nature of your daily operations. What kind of business are you? If you have a store or restaurant, there are many opportunities for your employees to be injured, whether it’s a burn in the kitchen or a fall on a recently-mopped floor. Do you make or manufacture goods for sale? What would happen if your equipment failed, or you were unable to get the materials necessary to create your finished product? Here’s another place where insurance could be the difference between a major loss and a temporary setback. While it’s crucial to really work to identify every single scenario, which can pose a risk to your business, it’s equally as important to speak to an insurance agent. They’ll be more familiar with the laws where you live, which will tell them where … Read more

A Look at VantageScore and FICO’s Credit Scoring Methods

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When it comes to good personal finance habits, knowing your credit score is key before making any large purchases to avoid high interest rates. There are two main players that lenders use to distribute scores and that’s VantageScore and FICO. Here’s a little background on both. The VantageScore credit scoring model is a collaboration between all three credit reporting agencies (CRA) Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It’s their attempt at presenting an alternative against the Fair Isaac Corporation’s (FICO) method of determining creditworthiness. FICO’s dominance had run for years (since 1956) and led to FICO’s predictive analytics, introduced in 1989, being the standard lenders used to assess risks associated with specific borrowers. Currently, FICO is still the most widely used method creditors use to assess risk. However, VantageScore is gaining their share of the market. This is especially true thanks to free online credit scoring services like CreditSesame and Quizzle which use the VantageScore 3.0 version to let consumers monitor their progress. Scoring models FICO has its credit scoring models based on credit reports of millions of unspecified consumers obtained independently from each of the CRAs. A separate model is then built for each CRA and this is based on data … Read more

When is Enough, Enough? Stop Settling for a Mediocre Bank!

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Banks just aren’t what they used to be. A generation ago, competition between banks was fierce and customer service was excellent. Today, things have changed. The Great Recession has consolidated the market and consumers have fewer choices than ever before. However, just because there are fewer options, doesn’t mean you should settle for Mr. Wrong Bank. Bad customer service Not all banks are equal. Large banks have so much of the market that customer service doesn’t need to be a priority – the bank simply exists and, if you need access to your money from a lot of different places, you’re probably a customer of a bank with a lot of branches and ATMs. Luckily, with an increasing number of virtual banks in America, you don’t need to put up with poor service just to have access to your money. Virtual banks often have partnerships with brick-and-mortar banks, allowing their customers to access their money through a large network of ATMs or via cash back opportunities at local stores. If you’re fed up with long lines and rude tellers, tell your bank you’ve had enough and move on. Too expensive Not too long ago, the mere idea of a bank … Read more

How to Spot a Really Great Checking Account

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You’ve had enough! Your current bank and checking account just aren’t doing it for you anymore and you need to find something new. In this case, it’s definitely not you, it’s them. Millions of Americans change bank accounts every year and the banks are getting wise – they’ve begun offering lots of discounts and promotions to get you to sign up. But, do you know how to spot a really great checking account? The account The first thing you need to look for when trying to spot a great checking account is to find one that’s free. Don’t be fooled by promotions saying the account will be free for three-months or if you have a minimum balance of $5,000 – find an account that has no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum fees and no hidden fees. If the checking account you’re eyeing pays out interest, make sure that you understand the rate and how it’s structured. Some promotions will offer you a great interest rate for a short period, but will end up decreasing the rate once the promotional period is over. Read the fine print and only choose a checking account that has a rate structure you can understand. … Read more

3 Considerations Before Putting Together Your Print Photo Albums

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The rise of social media might lead some to suggest that traditional print photo albums are somewhat unfashionable, but sales figures show that this isn’t the case in the slightest. On the contrary, its items like this which are soaring in popularity, with most people feeling that they make those special occasions feel a little bit more distinctive when they are printed out in a glossy book. At the same time, there are ways and means of putting together these albums. Get it wrong, and you can be left with something which certainly isn’t going to be showcased on the coffee table in front of relatives. Get it right, and every person who steps into your home will be shown it. Bearing the above in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the core considerations you should keep in mind as you plan your first print photo album. What is the size of your photobook? This first point is largely going to depend on the type of photos you are looking to show. For example, if you are looking to bring significant focus to each one, you will probably want the album to just hold one photo per … Read more