The Secrets of a High Credit Score

Having a good credit score can unlock doors for you—from getting for a car loan to qualifying for the mortgage you’ve always wanted. Some lenders, including credit card companies, offer bonus incentives to people with good credit scores, including lower interest rates, mileage programs, and higher spending limits. Here are some tips to help you set healthy financial habits and watch your credit score skyrocket:

 1. Check your credit score and report.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but the first step in improving your credit is knowing how potential lenders see you. The most widely used and reputable scoring system is the FICO score, which assesses your credit  on a scale between 350 and 800. Obviously, the higher your score, the more appealing you will be to lenders, so knowing where you’re at now and where you’d like to be can give you some motivation to re-think your spending and saving … Read More

Three Financial Rules for College Graduates

The hardest part about graduating from college isn’t the final exams or saying goodbye to friends from your dorm—it’s the more subtle process of transitioning from a student role into that of an independent adult. Life after college is full of questions—where will I live? What will I do for a job? How will I make ends meet?

Decisions you make now, including financial habits, will set the course for your post-college life. Here are three financial rules for college graduates.  These tips will help establishing good financial habits that your future self will thank you for:

  1. Make paying off student loans a priority.

    Don’t get too comfortable during the grace period after graduation—those six months will fly by, and monthly bills for your federal loans will kick in before you know it. Instead, spend that post-college grace period finding a job that will allow you to pay more than your

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Avoiding an Audit: A Taxpayer’s Guide

One of the biggest fears a taxpayer may have is the dreaded phone call from the IRS or the letter in the mail labeled AUDIT.* Although your chances of being audited are slim (only 1% of U.S. taxpayers are selected), there’s good reason to want to avoid it—if the IRS finds out you’ve misreported income or expenses, you could be faced with back taxes, hefty fines, and possible jail time.

The selection process isn’t random; the IRS selects taxpayers for auditing if their returns raise questions—things like large deductions, extravagant purchases on a meager income, and cash-only business transactions are a few of the red flags that might put you on the top of the list.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep your taxes in order and stay on the good side of the IRS:

Hire a Tax Professional

Using the services of a licensed accountant … Read More