What Destroy Credit Score

Your credit score not only determines whether or not you can get a credit card, mortgage, or auto loan, it’s also a critical factor in determining the interest rate you have attached to those items. A low credit score can cost a lot of money over your lifetime.

Not everyone is aware of the many factors that determine a credit score. It’s easy to make assumptions that seem logical, but are actually false. Acting on incorrect beliefs is a sure way to make a critical mistake.

Save money and make your financial life easier by avoiding these seven credit destroyers:

1. Carrying a big balance on your credit cards. While having a lot of debt is never a good idea, using more than 30% of the available credit on your credit cards hurts your credit score.

* For example, if your credit limit is $10,000, your score drops if your balance is over $3,000. This is commonly referred to as the “utilization ratio.” Keep yours under 30%.

2. Paying late is a huge factor in your credit score. Experts estimate that 35% of your credit score is determined by your payment history. Any late payments will lower your score.

3. Closing credit cards is a credit score killer. This is related to your utilization ratio. By closing a credit card, you lower the amount of credit that’s available to you. Your credit score is also sensitive to the length of your credit history.

4. Defaulting is an obvious credit score mistake. When you fail to pay back a loan you owe to a lender, you can lose as much as 100 points from your credit score. Make every effort to pay back your loans.

* If you’re struggling, contact the lender and attempt to make other arrangements. They can be very flexible if failing to do so means not getting their payments.

5. Applying for too much credit. Everyone needs to have some credit, but applying for too much has a negative effect on your score.

* Each time you apply for more credit, your potential lender makes an inquiry of your credit history.

* Each of those inquiries lowers your credit score.

* Avoid sending in every credit card offer that shows up in your mailbox.

6. Not having a credit card at all. Many people are getting rid of their credit cards in an effort to avoid debt. Unfortunately, this does nothing to help your credit score.

* Experts believe that the ideal credit score includes 2-3 credit cards. Credit diversity can account for as much as 10% of your credit score.

* Credit cards help to keep your credit history current.

7. Co-signing for someone else can be a mistake. Putting your credit on the line by co-signing for someone else is a huge risk. Their failure to stay current with the payments can destroy your credit score.

* You’re equally responsible for that debt, so any late payments or defaults will show up on your own credit report.

* You can even be subject to collections and lawsuits. If a lender won’t do business with them, you might want to reconsider before co-signing.

By simply avoiding these common mistakes, you can’t help but have a great score that will guarantee you the lowest interest rates, even if your credit score is poor now. It may take time to boost your credit score, but it’s definitely possible.

Give your credit score the amount of attention it deserves. It makes life a lot easier!

Medical Tourism: Finding the Best Hospitals

With the ever-rising cost of medical care in the United States, more people are choosing to seek medical care in other countries. There are many countries with comparable quality healthcare at a fraction of the cost, which is why many individuals are becoming medical tourists.

India, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Thailand are considered to have medical care on par with that of the United States, but at a cost of 60-90% lower. Many of these doctors are also better trained and more experienced than some of the doctors in the United States.

Consider these key points when searching for a hospital
1. Look for a hospital that’s accredited. There are international accreditation programs like Joint Commission International (JCI) and the Clinical Care Program Certification. A hospital having these stamps of approval will let you know that the facility is top-notch.

* JCI is a non-profit organization that researches and rates hospitals worldwide. Hospitals must pass a rigorous audit process in order to gain the accreditation.

2. Check out the medical subspecialties at the hospital. You might find that the best hospital for hip replacement surgery isn’t the best hospital for a cosmetic procedure. Check to see if the physicians are board certified. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for the resume of any doctor that will be part of your treatment.

3. Examine the hospital’s standards. Check the news for any stories surrounding your potential hospital. Has there been a recent outbreak of infection or disease? Have they received awards for the quality of care they provide? Do the reviews suggest the hospital is safe and comfortable?

* Ask for the common statistics used to determine the quality of a hospital, such as mortality rate, nurse-to-patient ratio, and frequency of Staph infection. Sometimes, hospitals will publish this information online. In other cases, you’ll have to request it.

4. Investigate the language situation. Does the staff in the hospital speak your native language? Do they provide interpreters or do you need to provide your own? Also consider your medical records. Will they need to be translated?

* Communication is a key part of any relationship, including the one with your medical team. Many international hospitals have an international patient department set up to handle these issues.

5. Estimate the expected costs. Are the projected costs in line with what you budgeted? When are you required to start making payments? How much will the payments be? Will your insurance cover any of the costs? Will your insurance cover your transportation back to the states if there are complications?

6. Discover partnerships with any U.S. hospitals. Many overseas hospitals have relationships with hospitals in the United States. This can be a good sign that the hospital has high standards.

7. Research the hospital’s reputation among the local residents. You can find this information with a little legwork. It’s difficult to fool the local population, as they know the staff and hear all the stories.

8. Find out the location of the hospital relative to where you’re staying. Many foreign locations lack good transportation, which might be an issue if you’ll be living on the other side of the city while receiving treatment.

* If you’re going to be physically uncomfortable, location and traveling issues are definitely worth considering.

* The cost of transportation might also be relevant.

Medical tourism is becoming more and more popular. This is likely to continue for as long as medical costs continue to rise in the United States. Investigate the many medical tourism companies that provide support for those traveling overseas for medical care.

If you’re looking for an international hospital, these tips will get you off to a great start.

8 Money Tips for Young Adults

Personal finance still isn’t required in high school or college. This results in many young adults not having a good foundational knowledge of how to manage their personal finances. Fortunately, this subject isn’t complicated. A willingness to learn and do a little reading is all that’s required.

With a small investment of time and energy, anyone can become fluent and knowledgeable on the topic of money. The payback on this small amount of time and energy is priceless. Money challenges are a major source of stress for most adults. You can avoid these challenges.

Add these 8 simple tips to your financial knowledge

1. Be responsible for your finances. While there are many great money experts that can help you with your finances, the personal finance field is also full of unscrupulous people.

* Take the time to read topics that pertain to your finances. Pay your own bills. Stay on top of your money. Avoid leaving the responsibility to someone else.

2. Be aware of how you’re spending your money. Setting up a simple budget is the first step. Then track how you’re spending every cent, at least for the first couple of months. Everyone is surprised by how their money is being spent when they take the time to really examine the issue.

3. Learn the differences between ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ It’s not always easy to deprive ourselves of the things we desire. But if you can to say ‘no’ when it’s appropriate, you’ll eventually be able to purchase essentially anything you could ever want.

* Many financial challenges are created by poor impulse control. This includes purchasing things you can’t afford and things you don’t really need.

4. Keep track of your credit score. Credit scores become more important every year. It’s common for credit reports to have errors, so be sure to review your credit report every year. Take the time to learn about credit and how to build a strong credit profile.

5. Don’t wait to start funding your retirement. If you get started early, you can save a lot of money quite easily. A little bit grows into a lot over 40+ years. Compound interest works like magic.

* If your company offers a retirement plan, be sure to take full advantage. The tax savings and convenience are spectacular. Your company might even match your contributions.

6. Invest in your career. Spending money to further your earning power is money well spent. This can include job-related training, books, and formal education.

* Hiring someone to mow your lawn isn’t out of the question if it permits you to spend time on more important, career-related activities.

7. Protect your health. Health insurance is very expensive for most people, but hospital bills are even more. Do everything you can to be as healthy as possible. And find a way to afford health insurance.

8. Have reasonable expectations. It’s unlikely you’re going to be living like your parents when you first head out on your own. It will take time to accomplish what your parents have spent years building. Patience is critical.

Many older adults wish they could go back in time and handle their finances differently. You’re in an ideal position to get started down the road to a healthy financial future. Take advantage of your unique situation. You can have a life of financial security. It’s much easier to avoid mistakes than it is to fix them.

Top 8 Signs That Your Business Opportunity Might Be a Scam

Many opportunities to build a small business are scams, clearly disguised as legitimate offers. Many that aren’t scams fail to mention the risks or potential downsides involved.

The key to finding a legitimate offer is to keep your guard up and investigate the claims being made. If it sounds too good to be true, you probably have a good reason to be suspicious.

Avoid taking anything at face value and investigate all the costs. Many times, there are considerable start-up costs that are only mentioned in the small print, if at all. Whenever you’re dealing with a considerable amount of money, proceed with caution.

Watch out for these signs that you might be dealing with a scam:

1. Anything that claims to be ‘turnkey,’ ‘easy,’ ‘automatic,’ or claims to be little or no work should be examined with skepticism. If it were that easy, wouldn’t they just set up several income streams for themselves and keep it a secret?

* If it’s easy and actually works, everyone would be doing it for themselves.

* That would make the competition fierce, which would destroy any profits very quickly.

2. Vagueness is a warning sign. If the offer is vague enough that you don’t even really understand what is involved, that’s usually a sign to stay away.

* Companies with legitimate offers want to give you all the details. They are proud of what they have to offer and want to tell you about it.

3. The revenue stream doesn’t make sense. How does the company making the offer make money? Do they primarily make revenue by charging you for training, advertising, a website, and other fees? If they’re not profiting, then they wouldn’t be making the offer.

4. The warranty is riddled with loopholes. You might find warranties that use words like “possible,” “can,” “may,” or “potential.”

* Companies with legitimate products and offers wouldn’t require a weasel clause in their warranty.

* You want to associate with a company that has an iron-clad warranty.

5. The people offering the opportunity are located in some obscure country. Legitimate opportunities can come from anywhere, but if the company in question is located in someplace like Liberia, there’s reason for additional caution.

6. An offer talks more about the magical marketing than the magical product. A great business opportunity has a great product, exclusivity, or a great brand behind it. The marketing should come second.

7. Be especially weary of opportunities that cost less than $20,000 and involve an out of state company. It’s too costly and difficult to sue an out of state company with the current commerce laws.

* Federal prosecutors typically won’t look at anything less than $30,000 because they are simply too busy.

8. Ads in newspapers and magazines that have little information besides outrageous claims and a toll-free number. Just because the ad is in the Wall Street Journal doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.

Always protect yourself. There are several ways to check on the legitimacy of the company in question. You can contact your state’s Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau. Just remember that a lack of complaints isn’t a guarantee that you aren’t being scammed.

If you feel that you were taken advantage of, ask for your money back. If that doesn’t work, let the Attorney General’s office know what happened. Provide any relevant correspondence.

When faced with a business opportunity, move slowly and be cautious. If you are pressed to make a quick decision, that’s probably a good reason to say “no.” Keep an eye out for the warning signs and protect your money.