On Air Now
No Program


200 items
Results 1 - 10 of 200 next >

4 Ways Your Credit Card Can Help You Build Credit (For Real)

For plenty of people — and millennials especially — a credit card is a scary prospect. And we get why: Phenomenal spending power plus itty-bitty charging restrictions equals a major opportunity to go into debt.

But if you’re foregoing credit cards completely, you could be making it harder on yourself when it comes to another important facet of your finances: building a solid credit score. That’s because credit cards are fairly easy to qualify for — there’s actually a whole category of them designed specifically for people who need to build or rebuild. (You can monitor your progress by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Plus, while installment loans (think auto loan or mortgage) come with an automatic price tag and, more often than not, automatic interest, you don’t need to take on debt to build credit with a credit card. That’s actually a common misconception, but, trust us, no balance here required.

To help you how to best leverage your plastic, here are four ways a credit card can help you build credit.

1. You’ll Establish a Payment History

And that’s the number one most important factor when it comes to credit scores. Of course, to build good credit, you’ll want to make all of your credit card payments on-time. (One misstep can really cost you and your score.) To avoid any blemishes, set up alerts that reminds you when your due date approaches or even consider setting up auto-payments each month. Just be sure to keep an eye on your statements for any errors or fraudulent charges.

2. Its Limit Can Bolster Your Credit Utilization Rate

That’s how much debt you’re carrying versus your total credit. Experts generally recommend keeping your credit utilization below at least 30% and ideally 10% of your total available limit(s) — which is easier to do when you have a credit card you’re consistently paying off in full.

3. Your Credit Will Start to Age

And that’s a good thing because length of credit history accounts for about 15% of your credit scores. Length of credit history, also referred to as the age of your credit, is essentially how long you’ve had your credit lines. When it comes to building credit in this category, there’s little credit newbies can do, except, you know, wait. But because a credit card represents one of the easier points of entry into the financing world, that plastic in your wallet can help you get started.

4. You Could Be Rewarded for Having a Mix of Accounts

Credit scoring models like to see that you can manage different types of credit. So, if you’ve got an installment loan on your file — like, say, that student loan you took out to pay for college — adding a revolving line of credit, like a credit card or home equity line of credit, could improve your performance in this key credit category. Mix of accounts, or credit mix, accounts for roughly 10% of the points in your credit score.

Of course, there are ways to build credit outside of simply using your own credit card. That includes looking into credit-builder loans at your local bank or credit union or becoming an authorized user on a friend or family member’s credit card. (The account will appear on your credit file and bolster your performance in the aforementioned credit scoring categories, but you won’t be liable for the charges.) And if your credit is kind of shoddy, you can try disputing any errors on your credit report, limiting credit inquiries and addressing accounts in default. You can find a full 11 ways to improve your credit scores here.


Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Company will pay you $10K a month to travel, stay in luxury homes

A vacation rental company is hiring for a job that sounds like a dream for many.

Glamour magazine reported that ThirdHome, which provides luxury vacation rentals, has listed what it’s calling the “best job on the planet” on its Facebook page.

>> Read more trending news

The three month contract position is for a “storyteller” who can blog, write and take photos of “up to twelve of the most luxurious homes,” according to the listing.

The position pays $10,000 per month for three months and includes travel expenses. Pets can’t stay with the person chosen, but one person is allowed to come with the finalist while they travel, although they have to pay for their own expenses.

Those interested are asked to send in a one-minute video to apply by March 30. 

The full requirements on the job are on the ThirdHome Facebook page.

How to Invest $50,000

Everyone has a different definition of financial comfort, but let’s just say there’s not a whole lot uncomfortable about $50,000 landing in your lap — except, maybe, the weight of all that paper.

Deciding how to invest that amount of cash can get pretty heavy, too, especially if you — like most people — aren’t used to a flood of money all at once. Do you stick it in a mutual fund? Try to sniff out the next hot stock? Portion it as $1 bills so you can roll around on a carpet of money?

We suggest a more measured approach. First, make sure you know whether this money will be taxed — the IRS could quickly turn that $50,000 into a still-exciting-but-slimmer $35,000. Then check two crucial financial boxes: having an emergency fund and not having high-interest debt.

Now you’re ready to consider some investment options. Here are five suggestions for how to invest $50,000.

How to invest $50,000 Jump in with both feet Invest in an older, wiser version of yourself Take advantage of the room to diversify Get outside the retirement bubble Consider getting some advice for less 1. Jump in with both feet

When it comes to investing, time matters — specifically, time in the market. There’s an opportunity cost to keeping your money in cash, because even days and weeks of investment growth matter. So while you may be tempted to dribble this money in bit by bit, the best strategy, as outlined by Vanguard, is to go whole hog and drop that cash in.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to figure out the best investment for you. (What do you think we’re doing here, anyway?) It means that once you’ve landed on a plan, jumping in will typically outperform dollar-cost averaging, a fancy term for that dribble strategy of investing a set amount at regular intervals in an attempt to smooth out the market’s highs and lows.

2. Invest in an older, wiser version of yourself

The you of tomorrow will really appreciate it if the you of today puts this money into a retirement account.

If your company offers a 401(k) that matches employee contributions, and you haven’t been contributing enough to earn that match, let this cash influx free up your budget so you can do so. (Unfortunately, you can’t dump this money in there in one shot, despite the advice above. A 401(k) has an annual contribution limit of $18,000 — $24,000 if you’re 50 or older — and is funded via deferrals from your paycheck; most don’t accept lump sum contributions.)

The other option, if you don’t have a 401(k) or you’re already fully funding one, is an individual retirement account like a Roth or traditional IRA. These, too, have annual contribution limits — a combined $5,500 ($6,500 if 50 or older). Is it worth putting away that kind of chump change now that you’re such a baller? This Roth IRA calculator, which does the math to project the value of your contributions down the line, will tell you that the answer is “yes.”

» Which retirement account is best for you? We break down IRAs vs. 401(k)s

3. Take advantage of the room to diversify

Plenty of things get easier when you have more money, and diversification is one of them.

When you have a couple hundred or a even few thousand dollars, it’s hard to spread that money around. Many people end up choosing a fund with built-in asset allocation, like a target-date fund, or a Standard & Poor’s 500 index fund, which holds some of the largest companies in the U.S.

But with $50,000 you can really get your diversification game on — did we make that sound fun? — and look at all the things that a good asset allocation plan considers: taxes, investment goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

If the goal is retirement and your time horizon is long, that means, well, you’ll probably still put most of your portfolio into an S&P 500 index fund. Those big companies are big for a reason, and their continued growth and stability is a good anchor. But you’ll also have money left to spread around to funds that hold small and medium-size companies, and to international and emerging markets. For nearer-term goals, or to balance out risk, you can select bond funds.

» Want to pick stocks instead? Here’s our guide for how to buy stocks

Because the cash you have is more than 401(k) and IRA contribution limits, you’ll probably also want to open a brokerage account so you can invest the rest. You should look at all your long-term money as one larger portfolio, regardless of how many accounts you have. For example, you can fill gaps in a subpar 401(k) investment selection with the investments you choose in your IRA or taxable account.

You also want to optimize for tax efficiency. Because a taxable brokerage account is, well, taxable, it makes sense to hold investments that carry a low tax burden — like stock index funds and municipal bond funds — in that account. Investments that are taxed as ordinary income or that generate capital gains, like corporate bond funds and mutual funds with high stock churn, should go in a tax-deferred account like a traditional IRA or 401(k).

4. Get outside the retirement bubble

As far as investing goals go, retirement hogs all the attention. But a windfall can feel like permission to consider the goals that are secondary but also important, such as a house down payment or college for your kids.

A house is not an investment, but it is an asset. Assuming your home holds value, your monthly mortgage payments build up a pot of equity you can tap one day. But first you’ll need a down payment, and it can take years to save up the recommended 20% down to avoid private mortgage insurance, which can add $100 or more to your monthly payment, depending on your home value. This extra cash can go a long way toward speeding up that process.

As for a college fund, the IRS allows you to front-load 529 plan contributions, which are subject to the annual gift tax exclusion. You can put in five years’ worth of contributions at one time — that’s $70,000; or $140,000 for a married couple — without paying a gift tax.

5. Consider getting some advice for less If you want someone to dive deep into your financial life, you want a financial advisor. And these days, you can get one for much less than you would’ve paid five or 10 years ago, thanks to online advisor services like Personal Capital and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. Your $50,000 meets the minimum balance requirement for both services. How to invest  We’ve written about how to invest other amounts as well. • $500 • $1,000 • $5,000 • $10,000 • $20,000

These companies have computer algorithms doing much of the portfolio management dirty work, but on the front lines are human advisors who can walk you through the recommendations made by those computers and make adjustments based on your feedback.

The computers make the services cheaper than a direct relationship with a financial advisor, but the human element is still very much there. At Personal Capital, you’ll pay 0.89% of your account balance and be paired with a dedicated financial advisor. At Vanguard, you’ll pay 0.30% and work with a team of advisors, meaning you may speak to a different person each time.

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

U-shaped skyscraper might be coming to America

 A unique U-shaped building that could be the longest in the world might be coming to the United States.

Plans for building “The Big Bend” could redefine the Manhattan skyline.

>> Read more trending news

“If we manage to bend our structure instead of bending the zoning rules of New York we would be able to create one of the most prestigious buildings in Manhattan,” design studio Oiio said in a news release.

The building, which at 4,000 feet long, would be more than 1,000 feet longer than any other building in the world if stretched out. Plans call for an elevator that would travel in curves, horizontally and continuous loops.

The world’s tallest building is currently the 2,722-foot-high Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates. The building's 163 floors went up in Dubai in 2010.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Should You Pay Your Taxes With A Credit Card?


It is hard to beat the convenience of a credit card for purchases, but does that same convenience make it worth paying your taxes by credit card? It might, but that depends on several factors involving money and time. The major ones are listed below. Fees – By law, the IRS cannot pay credit card transaction fees. As a result, credit card payments to the IRS are handled through secure third parties approved by the agency. See http://www.irs.gov/uac/Pay-Taxes-by-Credit-or-Debit-Card for a list of the approved payment processors and their fees. Credit card fees are percentage-based with a minimum “convenience fee” for smaller bills ranging from $2.50 to $2.69. Percentages range from 1.87% to 2.00% of the total tax bill depending on the vendor and the type of card used. You will also find debit card information for each listed vendor. Debit card t...

These Popular Hotel Credit Cards Just Got Sweeter Signup Bonuses

Right on the heels of its forthcoming Platinum card makeover, American Express is upping the ante on two more of its popular credit cards.

Now through May 31, 2017, new Hilton Honors cardholders can earn 80,000 points after spending $2,000 in their first three months. Hilton Honors Surpass cardholders can earn 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in their first three months and a free night on their one-year membership anniversary.

Before the big change, cardholders could earn 50,000 points and 75,000 points, respectively.

There’s also a Member-Get-Member bonus on the table — meaning if a friend applies and gets approved, Hilton Honors cardholders will get an extra 20,000 points while Surpass cardholders get 25,000.

The sweeter signup bonuses are launching alongside some recently announced upgrades to Hilton’s loyalty program. Point redemption is now much more flexible, with pricing adjusting alongside rates and, starting April 2017, members will be able to pool points with family and friends. Plus, beginning Summer 2017, you’ll be able to shop with Hilton Honors points on Amazon.

So Should I Sign Up?

If you’re a big fan of Hilton hotels and travel often, then, sure, consider signing up. Both cards are solid as far hotel rewards credit cards go. The Hilton Honors Surpass even made our list of the best cards for hotel hoppers, as it offers 12 points per dollar on eligible Hilton purchases, six times the points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations and three times the points (mostly) everywhere else.

If you’re not interested in paying the card’s $75 annual fee, the Hilton Honors credit card is a solid alternative: seven times the points at Hilton hotels, five times the points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, three times the points everywhere else and no annual charge.

Both cards tout a variable purchase annual percentage rate (APR) between 15.99% and 19.99%, depending on your credit. (You can get an idea of where you might fall by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Have Credit Card, Will Travel?

If you’re booking it all over town and beyond, a good hotel rewards credit card can make you some money back on all those stays. (Just be sure to pay any balances off in full; otherwise, you’re just kissing those points goodbye to interest.) But the right credit card for you depends on your travel preferences.

Stay solely at Starwood properties? Well, its Preferred Guest credit card, also from American Express, might give you the biggest bang for your buck. Wind up at Wyndhams? Its Barclaycard Visa is worth checking out. And, if you travel often, but don’t like to limit your stays to just one hotel chain, there are plenty of general-purpose travel credit cards out there that’ll earn you points, miles or cash back on all your flights and nights.

A bit more Credit Card 101: Be sure to read the full fine print of any card you’re considering to learn exactly what you’re signing up for. And get ready to do some math — a lot of travel credit cards carry steep annual fees (think $450 or higher) that are only worth paying if you travel and/or spend a certain amount each year.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Macy’s, Kmart, JCPenney: More retailers closing brick-and-mortar stores

The news from retailers across the country this quarter has not been good. 

More than two dozen stores and restaurants, including the likes of Macy's, Payless Shoes, Outback Steakhouse and Noodles and Company, have either closed locations or have announce plans to shutter stores across the country.

As people choose e-commerce over shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, experts said customers can expect to see more deserted storefronts and “going out of business” signs.

"It's going to be a year of transition and a year of reckoning and a year of awakening for retailers," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analysis for the NPD Group. NPD Group conducts market research on consumer trends.

More shoppers are eschewing retail outlets for the convenience of online shopping, made sweeter with deals from the likes of Amazon, which offers free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member. 

Amazon has seen the benefits of such features. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the company saw a 22 percent increase in revenue over the fourth quarter of 2015.

U.S. shoppers spent a record high $91.7 billion online during the 2016 holiday season.

While e-commerce is seen as quick and generally easy, a study conducted in 2013 by WD Partners showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents said instant gratification was what got them out of their homes and into the malls. 

Here’s a list of 15 retailers that have announced store closings for 2017.

  • American Apparel – all 110 stores closed
  • CVS – closing 70 stores
  • Chico – closing 120 stores
  • Crocs – closing 160 stores
  • Family Christian – closing all of its 240 stores 
  • JCPenney – closing 138 stores
  • Kmart – closing 108 stores
  • Macy's – closing 63 stores
  • Office Depot – closing 100 stores
  • Payless Shoes – closing 400-500 stores
  • Radio Shack – closing 552 stores
  • Sears – closing 42 stores
  • The Limited – closed 250 stores in January
  • The Children’s Place – closing as many as 200 stores
  • H.H. Gregg – closing 88 stores 

Several restaurant chains have also announced they will be closing locations in 2017 as well.

Forty “underperforming” Carrabba’s, Outback, Bonefish Grill and Flemings restaurants will be closing by the end of the year, according to the company that owns them.

In 2016, chains Bob Evans, Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Country Buffet and Ruby Tuesday all announced restaurant closings.

200 items
Results 1 - 10 of 200 next >