Your credit report will show any and every credit card you’ve ever opened in your entire life. It shows your mortgages and car loans. And, it discloses who has been running your social security number recently. Then, it gets into the nitty-gritty – how many times you have been 30, 60 or 90 days late in making payments. It reveals your current balance and credit limits on all of your debts. But wait, it gets worse. If you have any items that have gone to collections, oh, they’ll be there. Other financially related public records like foreclosures, short sales, bankruptcy, judgments, repossessions also make an appearance. All that data swirls, slides, twists and turns through the credit bureaus’ secret algorithms that ultimately spit out your credit scores.While each of the credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion, has a slightly different range, a credit score runs from 300 up to 850. While doctors use a pain scale to determine your level of pain, 1 being low and 10 which is well…too painful to put into words, the bureaus do the same thing. The lower your score, the higher the risk you are to a lender. So, to be blunt, lenders see your low score and believe that you probably won’t pay them back.Experian, Equifax and Transunion calculate your credit score using five different factors. These factors include your payment history (35%), the amount you owe to financial lenders (30%), the length of your credit history (15%), the number of open/applied new credit accounts (10%) and the types of credit accounts open (10%).So, let’s assume for a minute you have a low score. What do you need to know in order to increase your score? First, let’s revisit those five factors.1. Payment history – do you have a lot of late payments? If so, you can most-likely increase your score with credit repair services.2. Amount owed – are your cards maxed out? If so, credit repair itself cannot fix that unless the debt that is reported does NOT belong to you or is listed incorrectly. If that’s the case, dispute it. However, if that debt is yours and everything that is listed is accurate, paying it down is the bottom line. That will improve your score over time.3. Length of Credit History – are your credit cards and/or loans new? If so, you may have a lower score. This is simply because you don’t have a financial track record yet. Credit repair will not help this, but you can learn some different ways to start using credit (responsibly, of course).4. Number of Inquiries – if you are constantly applying for credit cards at every store, chances are your score will take a dip. This shows lenders you are shopping for potential debt. Credit repair could help you get some of these inquiries removed. As you know, thieves like to open up fraudulent credit cards in your name. Check your credit report to see if anyone other than yourself is running your credit.5. Types of credit accounts open – Credit cards are called revolving debt. I suppose it’s because of those minimum payments that are due with no real plan for payoff. The debt just keeps revolving month after month. The more revolving debt you have the lower your score will be. However, all of these credit cards may not be reported accurately. Something as simple as an incorrect credit limit could be hurting you. Chances are you can dispute these items while repairing your credit and increase your score. Credit repair can help clean up these errors.Car loans, student loans and mortgages are called installment debt. They aren’t as troublesome as credit cards, but again, some could be reported incorrectly, and you’ll want to fix that with credit repair.If you’re still reading at this point, I hope you have a better understanding of your to read your credit report and understand how your credit score is calculated. In fact, if you haven’t seen your credit report this year, run one of your free annual credit reports today at annualcreditreport.com. Your credit score won’t be affected if you run your report from this site.
For many people, the first introduction to life insurance is when a friend or a “friend of a friend” gets an insurance license. For others, a close friend or relative died without having adequate coverage or any life insurance. For me, I was introduced to a life insurance company where I had to set appointments with friends and family as I learned the ends and outs of the industry and hopefully, make some sales.Unfortunately, however, this is how most people acquire life insurance – they don’t buy it, it is sold to them. But is life insurance something that you truly need, or is it merely an inconvenience shoved under your nose by a salesperson? While it may seem like the latter is true, there are actually many reasons why you should purchase life insurance.As we grow older, get married, start a family, or begin a business, we need to understand that life insurance is absolutely necessary. For example, picture a safety net. You may be the greatest tightrope walker in the world, without a doubt. You could perform without a net, but, “Why?” You cherish your life and the life of those close to you and you wouldn’t do anything that showed that you felt differently. Let’s face it, we have no control over the unpredictability of life or of unforeseen occurrences. With that in mind, just as a safety net protects the uncertainty life, so does life insurance. It is an indispensable and fundamental foundation to a sound financial plan. Over the years, life insurance has given many caring and responsible people the peace of mind knowing that money would be available to protect the ones most important in their life, family and estate in a number of ways, including:1. To Pay Final ExpensesThe cost of a funeral and burial can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and I don’t want my wife, parents, or children to suffer financially in addition to emotionally at my death.2. To Cover Children’s ExpensesLike most caring and responsible parents, it is necessary to be sure that our children are well taken care of and can afford a quality college education. For this reason, additional coverage is absolutely essential while children are still at home.3. To Replace the Spouse’s IncomeIf one parent passes away while the children are young, the surviving caring parent would need to replace that income, which is essential to their lifestyle. The responsible surviving parent would need to hire help for domestic tasks like cleaning the house, laundry, and cooking. Add to that equation if it is a single parent, helping with schoolwork, and taking your children to doctor’s visits.4. To Pay Off DebtsIn addition to providing income to cover everyday living expenses, a family would need insurance to cover debts like the mortgage, so they wouldn’t have to sell the house to stay afloat.5. To Buy a Business Partner’s SharesIn a business partnership, the partners need insurance on each other partner’s life. The reason is so if one dies, the others will have enough cash to buy his interest from his heirs and pay his share of the company’s obligations without having to sell the company itself. They have the same needs (due to the risk that one of the partners might die), and they simultaneously purchased insurance on each other’s life.6. To Pay Off Estate TaxesEstate taxes can be steep, so having insurance in place to pay them is essential to avoid jeopardizing assets or funds built for retirement. Use of insurance for this purpose is most common in large estates, and uses permanent (rather than term) insurance to ensure that coverage remains until the end of life.7. To Provide Living BenefitsWith the advancements in medicine and rising healthcare costs, people are living longer, but cannot afford to. Living benefits is an option to use death proceeds before the insured dies to help with obligations or necessities to ease the pressure on themselves and others.How Much Coverage Should I Buy?The face amount, or “death benefit” of an insurance policy (i.e., the amount of proceeds paid to the beneficiary) should be high enough to replace the after-tax income you would have earned had you lived a full life, presuming you can afford the annual premiums for that amount. In other words, the insurance replaces the income you didn’t have the chance to earn by living and working until retirement due to a premature death.The proper amount of insurance allows your family to continue their lifestyle, even though your income is no longer available. The actual amount that you should purchase depends upon your present and probable future incomes, any special circumstances affecting you or your family, and your existing budget for premiums.Whole Life or Term?Some people prefer to drive Cadillac, Lincoln or Rolls Royce, which come with all of the electronic gadgets that make driving safe and as easy as possible. Others prefer less customized makes, equally reliable to their more expensive cousins, but requiring more hands-on attention.Whole life is the “Cadillac” of insurance; these companies try to do everything for you, specifically investing a portion of your premiums so that the annual cost doesn’t increase as you grow older. The investment characteristic of the insurance means that premiums are generally higher than a similar term policy with the same face value. After all, whole life insurance is intended to cover your whole life.Term insurance, on the other hand, is temporary life insurance. There are no excess premiums to be invested, and no promises or guarantees beyond the end of the term, which can range from 1 to 30 years. The annual premium for term insurance is always less than whole life, lacking the investment component, but your premiums will rise (often substantially) once the term period expires.Both types of life insurance, term or whole life (or one of their derivatives) have benefits and drawbacks; both have their place depending upon the needs, desires, and financial objectives of the purchaser. A knowledgeable professional insurance agent can help you decide which type of policy is best for you depending upon your circumstances. But whichever you select, be sure that you have enough coverage to meet your objectives in the short term and the long term.The Last WordSome people mistakenly believe that life insurance is a scam. This is because the money for premiums is lost if death doesn’t occur during the coverage period (in the case of term insurance), or because many people live to a ripe old age and continue to pay their permanent insurance premiums. Such naysayers compare life insurance protection to gambling, and forgo the protection entirely.There are others, who have the belief that life insurance does not help them. To those individuals, the answer is: You are absolutely correct! The truth of the matter is that life insurance is a way for caring and responsible people to help ensure that their family can continue to move forward in the event of your untimely demise, a truly difficult time of loss. Of course, there is no bet – you will die, but no one knows when. It could be today, tomorrow, or 50 years into the future, but it will happen eventually.Do you have life insurance? Why or why not?
In recent months, the common virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV) has been frequently featured in the news. While the focus has been mainly on vaccination for women, men, too, need to become educated about this virus and about the vaccine that safeguards against it. Avoiding genital warts and other HPV-related issues is part and parcel of good penis health, so read on and learn.What is HPV?HPV is one of the most common viruses; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that most unvaccinated sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point in their lives.Isn’t HPV just a woman thing?A lot of HPV education centers on women, largely because there’s an association between HPV and cervical cancer. But men are equally likely to get HPV.What happens with HPV in men?Sometimes, HPV comes with no symptoms; however, men with HPV often end up with genital warts. As a matter of fact, the CDC estimates that at any time, 1% of sexually active men are experiencing genital warts.The warts themselves are more of a nuisance than a health problem. They can appear on or around the penis, testicles, groin area, thighs or anus. Their shape and size vary, and while they do not cause pain, they can be very off-putting.Men with genital warts have an obligation to let any sexual partners know about them. They should also practice protected sex (with a condom); however, HPV may be present even when no warts are visible, and it may be passed on through contact with areas not covered by the condom.Genital warts can be removed through a variety of methods, but they tend to recur; it may take several removal sessions to be rid of them.Is there a cancer risk with HPV?Cancers of the penis, anus and throat have an association with HPV, but instances of HPV causing these cancers are rare. They also are not caused by the same type of HPV that causes genital warts. Still, it’s a good idea for a man to monitor his penis and groin area for any signs of abnormalities and report them to a doctor – just to be safe.Only about 400 men in the U.S. develop HPV-related penis cancer in any given year; for HPV-related anal cancer, the rate is about 1500. It’s somewhat higher for throat cancer; however, most of those come about due to issues other than HPV, such as smoking.What about the vaccine?The good news is that there is now a vaccine (called Gardasil) that can help protect against HPV. The not-so-good news is that it is effective only in men who are 26 years of age or younger. The CDC recommends that boys receive the vaccination when they are 11 or 12 years old and that any male can receive it up through age 26. However, it is most effective when given to a male who is not yet sexually active, because once he becomes sexually active, the chances of already being infected increase significantly.The vaccine is multi-stage, meaning it is given in three doses over a period of six months. There aren’t any serious side effects associated with the vaccine, which should be encouraging for men who are worried about adverse reactions. Men over the age of 26 shouldn’t despair about not being able to get the HPV vaccine; as mentioned before, most people with HPV do not experience any significant symptoms, and those with genital warts can be treated.Men who regularly and appropriately monitor their genitals as part of their daily penis health routine are in the best position to spot any possible signs of HPV. That regular monitoring should also include proper penis hygiene: regular cleaning with a mild cleanser that will not irritate the skin. It’s also vital that men incorporate a top quality penis vitamin cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) into their daily penis health regimen. For optimal results, men should seek out a cream that includes both acetyl L carnitine and alpha lipoic acid; the two ingredients work together synergistically to produce maximum benefit. Also essential in a cream is the presence of vitamin A, the antibacterial qualities of which can fight that annoying and off-putting penis odor.