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Should You Ever Cosign a Loan? Probably Not

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One of the absolutely most risky financial decisions you can make is to cosign a loan for someone.

The FTC has even done research to show consumers exactly how atrocious of a decision cosigning a loan is.  It can be really hard to turn down the need to cosign a loan; usually the person asking you is a relative or very close friend.  They are promising that it won’t be a big deal and they’ll be able to pay on time.

But is that true?

Should you ever cosign a loan?

For anyone?

Ever?

The Risks of Cosigning a Loan

Here are three risks of accepting the offer to cosign a loan.

The Person Asking is a Credit Risk

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Blue Cash Everyday ® Card from American Express – Review, Now With Amazon Prime and a $50 Bonus

American Express has a great card in it’s “Blue” family – the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

This is a nice no-nonsense cash back card that’s easy for people to understand.  These days that’s getting harder to find as credit card companies make their rewards harder to get or increase the annual fee to make up for the benefits of the card.

Let’s take a look at what the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has to offer.Continue Reading

The Dark Side of Health Care – Paying Extra Because of Our Health

There’s no doubt that obesity is an epidemic in the United States. 

Our children may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents thanks to obesity and the many related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease.

Among adults, according to the CDC, 35.9% of U.S. citizens ages 20 and older are obese.  Another 33.3% are overweight, but not obese.  That leaves slightly less than 31% of United States citizens who are at a healthy weight.

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that those who are chronically obese or overweight will likely cost a company more in health care.

In addition, those workers are absent from the work place more often.  “A 2011 Gallup survey estimated obese or overweight full-time U.S. workers miss an additional 450 million days of work each year, compared to healthy workers, resulting in more than $153 billion in lost productivity” (Wall Street Journal).

While we may consider obesity a personal issue, each person’s obesity and related health issues affect not only themselves, but their employers and their families.

Should You Have to Pay Extra for Health Insurance If You’re Overweight?

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What Should You Do If You Are Audited?

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It’s the ultimate financial nightmare: What if you are audited?

Many of us live in FEAR of a possible IRS audit.

However, less than 1% of taxpayers are audited each year.

Some audits come because of red flags that the IRS recognizes, and others are simply the result of random chance.  In many cases, all that is needed is for you to mail in some documentation that backs up your claim of a deduction or credit.  Getting an audit letter is no reason to immediately panic.

But there is always the chance that you have to go through a more difficult tax audit.

If that happens, though, you have options:Continue Reading

Credit Report Versus Credit Score – You Better Know the Difference

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I hear a lot of people interchanging the term credit report with credit score.

I do it myself.

But there’s a Big Difference between the two.  See how I bolded that there?  That’s how important it is.

Knowing the details of a credit report vs a credit score will help you better understand your credit.  And that can help you save money!

Differences Between a Credit Report and a Credit Score

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The New Job Market: Temporary Jobs and Freelancers

One of the challenges facing many job-seekers is the fact that the job market has changed quite a bit in recent years.

The recession that accompanied the recent financial crisis led to a rise in temporary jobs and freelancing jobs.

However, these are no longer jobs that people do to “get by” until they find something a little more permanent.  Indications are that these are becoming the permanent jobs.

Temporary Jobs and Freelancing are the New Job Market

Staffing Jobs on the Rise

The American Staffing Association releases data from a quarterly survey about trends in the workplace.  For the third quarter of 2012, there was a year over year increase of 4.3% in staffing jobs.  The latest data represent the 11th consecutive quarter that staffing jobs have grown since 2009 and the technical end of the recession.

Temporary positions are on the rise, in part, because freelancers, temps, and adjuncts cost a lot less than full-time regular workers.
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Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – $200 in Gift Cards | Review

How would you like a credit card that offers rewards as well as a nice 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers?  Add to that a $150 gift card bonus?

Sounds interesting, right?

This is what the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is offering.  Join me as we walk through what the card offers…

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Sign-Up Bonus

When you make $1,500 in purchases within 3 months of opening your account you will earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou Points.  That right there is good to redeem for $200 in gift cards or other rewards they offer.

ThankYou Point Rewards

The rewards program with the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card is the …wait for it… ThankYou Points program.

You earn 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 you spend on purchases.  No categories or signing up to get your points required.  Just a simple 1 for 1.  You can earn unlimited points and your ThankYou Points don’t expire.

You can earn 2x points when you use your card for entertainment and dining.

You can redeem your ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel, gift cards, statement credits/cash, event tickets, and more.  When redeeming your points pay attention to what the point redemption is.  You may find that you get better value with say gift cards than you do with merchandise.

If you shop through the ThankYou® Bonus Center you’ll have opportunities to earn bonus points.  There are over 600+ retailers represented there.

0% Intro APR

Stack of MoneyHere’s a sweet incentive for those with a balance to transfer from another card or if you’re planning on making a big purchase – you get a 0% Introductory APR for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers.

If you have a balance elsewhere then transferring to a 0% intro APR can help you pay that balance down faster since you get to put more money towards the balance rather than towards interest.  I’ve done this in the past to help pay off credit card balances.

After the introductory APR expires your rate will be a variable APR from 12.99%-22.99% based on your creditworthiness.

Be aware there is a balance transfer fee of 3% for each transfer with a minimum of $5.  This is pretty much standard for most cards.

Foreign Travel

Your Citi ThankYou Preferred card will have Chip technology in it making foreign travel purchases easier and safer when you shop at merchants that accept payments with chip terminals.  Be aware there is a 3% foreign transaction fee when you use your card abroad.

Annual Fee

There is no annual fee for this card.

Finally

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a nice all-around rewards card.  There’s no annual fee, you get a bonus point offer to start, and you have a 0% intro APR that applies to purchases and balance transfers.  The rewards are easy to understand as it’s one point for every one dollar spent.

There are cards out there that offer richer points programs or longer intro APR periods, as well as cards that offer no foreign transactions fees.  That said, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card has a little bit of everything, touching base on a lot of credit card perks.

This card is similar in rewards to the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or the Discover it® Card.  Both of the other cards offer up some higher rewards bonuses but you need to see which of the three cards has categories you will actually use more often.

*Always make sure you understand the terms of a credit card before you sign up. See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the “Apply Now” button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer’s website. Citi is a paid advertiser of this site.

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