Credit 
41
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What is the Average Credit Score?

Have you ever been curious what the average credit score is?

We know that the FICO credit score range goes from 300 to 850 with a good credit score being up above 750, but what is the average credit score? Fair Isaac shares a chart that indicates the average FICO credit score is around 700, but we don’t know when chart the was updated (see the chart here).

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 Banking 
5
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No-Penalty CD (Certificates of Deposit) Rates

Ally Bank was the first online bank to offer a no-penalty certificate of deposit and now it appears that the idea is catching on. Discover Bank will announce tomorrow that they are making their 12 month CD a no-penalty CD, where you can withdraw your funds should you involuntarily lose your job. All new and renewing account holders will get this benefit (existing account holders won’t, I assume because neither party can change the terms before maturity).

What is a No-Penalty CD? If you read my Certificate of Deposit Zoo post last week, then you’ll know that no-penalty CDs are ones where you can withdraw your deposit before the CD’s maturity date without any interest penalty. Normally a CD will charge you 3-6 months worth of interest to close it early, no-penalty CDs let you close your account.

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 Investing 
35
comments

Best Options Broker Review

These brokers are excellent for stock equity trades as well!

As you may have read in my review of The Options Playbook, I’ve started to get interested in trading stock options. As has been the case with everything I try, I do a lot of research first and then I dive right in. As my dad always said, you learn in the classroom or you learn on the street. Learning on the street is always more expensive. I prefer the classroom. :)

In my limited knowledge of options, it appears that there are two main discriminators: price and tools. For price, it’s a matter of comparing the cost per trade and per contract. For tools, it’s having the ability to quickly make complicated trades without having to jump through too many hoops. In my review of the Options Playbook, I talk about two types of “plays.” The more complicated plays involve several “legs,” or options trades, that hedge each other and the better options brokers let you setup those plays with one screen. In fact, most brokers make that transaction easy because it results in more trades, which means more profit, so it’s almost not even worth comparing brokers based on that (remember, I’m a total novice in this so I may be wrong).

So, it may just come down to price.

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 Cars 
33
comments

Buying A Prius Is An Emotional Decision

Toyota PriusHave you seen all the Toyota Prius commercials lately? The ones with the people dressed up as foliage and climbing on top of one another? It was to highlight how “green” the vehicles are and announce that Prius was launching another generation of the hugely popular hybrid-electric. At first, my wife didn’t even realize they were people and I, to this day, think it’s just a little bit creepy. :)

However, despite the creepiness of the ads and the whole slew of new hybrid-electric cars, I still would love to have a Prius (or a Tesla!). The only problem I have is that it’s not a financially sound decision. It’s an emotional one (which is fine too!).

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 Credit 
153
comments

Credit Karma Review

Credit KarmaI can’t believe I’ve been using Credit Karma all these months and never wrote up a quick review of the service! I’ve done walkthroughs of their Credit Score Report Card, but never about the entire service. Tsk tsk, what a bad blogger I am.

Credit Karma offers a lot of nice juicy information but the only thing I’m really pumped about is the fact that you get your TransUnion credit score absolutely free. When you sign up, you have to provide a lot of sensitive personal information because it’s needed to pull your credit score from TransUnion. Since the service is free, the only barrier to using it is your comfort level with providing this information to a third party.

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 Personal Finance 
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Easy Budgeting for Non-Budgeters

Clever Way to BudgetBudgeting isn’t fun. Very few people look forward to tracking all of their purchases, cutting back when they’ve overspent, and adjusting their budget from month to month to meet changing conditions. However, it’s a necessary chore, like cleaning your house or apartment, that you should do because it’s good for your financial health. But so is exercising and according to the Department of Health & Human Services, we as a nation aren’t doing such a great job at that.

When I first started working, I was a very diligent budgeter. I recorded every single expense in a document called a Budget Bible, built from a template my friend Melinda sent me. I budgeted to the penny, the most labor intensive of the five budgeting systems I once wrote about. I kept it up for about six months but eventually I grew tired of it. It was important to budget to get a better handle on my finances, but once I had a handle the daily routine was unnecessary. I went from the most diligent of budgeters to a non-budgeter!

So how do I get back on the wagon? How does a personal finance blogger reform?

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 Your Take 
65
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Your Take: What Is Your Dream Job?

Space ShuttleWith the economy pretty much sucking, despite “green shoots”, I thought it would be fun to completely ignore it and turn towards the fanciful.

I want to know – what is your dream job? If nothing were off the table, what would you, beyond all other things, like to be doing? Is it finding a cure for a currently incurable disease? Is it playing in a professional sports league like the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NBPL?

My dream job would be as an astronaut. I would love to have the opportunity to go into space and do something very few people can do today, but millions upon millions will likely be able to do within the next hundred years. It’s the final frontier after all!

What is your dream job?

(Photo: pmarkham)


 Personal Finance 
18
comments

Be Successful by Learning Delayed Gratification

What if I told you that delayed gratification was the most important factors of success?

I bet you’d probably believe that it was plausible, but probably not likely. There’s probably something else in the mix right?

Well, while that may be true, Joachim de Posada, in this six minute TED talk, explains how delayed gratification was a good predictor of future success.

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