Topics We’re Talking About: Ack! Well… That Was Unexpected

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“Ack!”

That’s generally the first sound to escape my mouth when I’m faced with the unexpected. Beyond sounding like a certain cartoon, the involuntary exclamation also usually indicates I’m about to face two options:

  1. Get upset
  2. Process and act with a level-head

While I’d like to say I always react with the latter, that’s not always the case. I’m more than susceptible to getting all sorts of frantic and upset when faced with unexpected bumps in the road. While I wouldn’t call myself a control-freak, I do love a good plan. When unforeseen challenges threaten to upset the carefully laid out structure of my plans? Well…  I’m apt to feel the pressure.

That being said, when I actively recognize that I have the choice to take a deep breath and assess before taking action, I have a far better chance of keeping my head straight in the face of the unexpected. It’s when I exercise that choice over my reaction that I can direct the moment from “Aww, maaaaaaan” to “I’ve got this”.

When I run into ack-inducing moments and it feels as if all is spinning out of control, I try to remember and implement a very simple lesson: Sometimes life surprises you… it’s how you react to that unexpected occurrence that  ultimately defines how it will impact your life.

Keeping in theme, here are some top tips from around the web to help you face the unexpected while keeping your wits about you!

What Are the Best Savings Accounts?

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Had you asked me what my saving strategy was a few years ago, I’d probably have told you all about my “strategic” approach of opting in for direct deposit.

Since my paycheck went directly into my checking account, there it stayed… only to be drained as the month went on.  My general thought on the matter was that as long as I didn’t dive into the red, I was doin’ just fine. In other words, I didn’t have a saving strategy. My checking account was my total financial barometer.

A few years later when I began adding student loan debt bills to my financial todo list, I started noticing how much more quickly I crept towards zero sum in my checking account each month. While I found it a little alarming, I wasn’t too put off (like I said, as long as I didn’t overdraw I felt OK)… UNTIL I was faced with expenses that my checking account couldn’t handle. That’s right, I came up against the dreaded “unexpected emergency” and I had very little to cover the resulting bill.

Though I was able to squeak by with a little luck and paycheck rearrangement, I learned an important lesson: I liked having a financial cushion in my life.

It made me realize that I liked having something other than credit to break my fall if and when I needed it. Essentially, my experience with facing a large unexpected expense demonstrated the merits of having an emergency fund.

So I investigated my options. I knew I didn’t want to store my money in a place that had little to no return but I also didn’t want to put it in an account that would prevent me from accessing my money should I need it.

Enter: the savings account.

ReadyForZero PLUS Credit Now Shows Credit Scoring Factors!

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There are a few numbers that probably standout in your financial world. Your bank account balance for one. Maybe your savings or amount of debt. But one number that pops up time and time again is the ever ubiquitous credit score.

As you probably know, your credit score is a number that carries quite a bit of heft in your finances but one that’s not always exactly transparent. While not exactly a mystery number (they’re often created from a basic formula as you’ll see below), a great deal of confusion continues to circulate over exactly which factors impact a credit score and what these factors mean for your full financial picture.

That’s exactly why ReadyForZero is extremely excited (and I mean disco ball dance excited) to announce the addition of credit scoring factors to ReadyForZero PLUS Credit.

Common Questions: Can I Transfer a Car Loan?

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Oftentimes on this blog we get questions about how to get out of a car loan. This kind of question can come from many types of situations. Sometimes people have bitten off more than they can chew with their monthly car payments. Sometimes people lose their job and want to transfer the car loan to a potential buyer. And sometimes people want to return the car to the dealer. Whatever the reason is, if you’re looking to get rid of your car loan, you should know that there are ways to do it.

However, for come car loans, the contract prohibits you from transferring the loan. But don’t despair; even if you can’t transfer your car loan, there may still be actions you can take to get out of it.

First let’s look at how to transfer a car loan and then examine some of the alternatives:

How Do I Know if I Can Transfer a Car Loan?

Some lenders allow the transfer of a car loan to a “qualified” buyer. Your first step is to read through the fine print in your car loan contract and find out if it allows a loan transfer or not. If there’s a lot of fine print and you can’t find an answer, then you’ll want to contact your lender directly (via phone or in person) and ask them.

If your lender does not allow a car loan transfer, then you can still get out of the loan. You will need to sell your vehicle in order to do so, and you should bring the person who you’re selling the vehicle to with you to the dealership or financial institution in order to do a car refinance.

Get Your Mind Right: How to Change Your Mindset to Reach Financial Prosperity

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When it comes to personal finance, it’s helpful to be able to construct a budget, understand why you should “pay yourself first,” be able to apply simple tenets of investing, and know which savings vehicle is best for your particular situation.

But while these money management basics are necessary for building your foundation, they won’t lead to financial prosperity. After all, just knowing the facts doesn’t mean we act, it simply informs us of how we should be acting.

So what is the usual culprit for staying stuck financially when logically we know what steps we should be taking to improve our situation? Our mindset. After all, you can’t be living in a place of prosperity and abundance when you’re mind is constantly stewing in a place of negativity and lack.

Here are a few tips for putting your mind on the right path to reach financial prosperity.

A Review of Lending Club for Borrowers

Review of Lending Club

When you have debt, there are two things that have a big impact on your repayment plan: your interest rate and your monthly payment. One common way that people change up their interest rates and/or monthly payments is by consolidating their debt. And one of the most common companies for doing that (which we’ve written about before) is called Lending Club. Since we’ve mentioned them before, today we wanted to write an actual review of Lending Club so you can get an idea of how they work and whether (and when) a Lending Club consolidation loan is a good idea.

It can be pretty confusing to try to figure out the difference between debt consolidation companies, debt settlement companies, and debt management companies, let alone sift through hundreds of debt consolidation companies to find one that is trustworthy.

So let’s take a closer look at Lending Club and how it works.

One Simple Change That Shaved 7 Months Off My Student Loan Debt Repayment

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A few tips and tricks tend to be popular go-tos in financial advice. Namely, creating a budget and taking advantage of opportunities to increase earning power. And while both are viable (and valuable) ways to pay off your debt even quicker, they also require long-term focus and maintenance. By no means a bad thing when it comes to keeping in touch with your finances – they are the pillars for your debt repayment, after all! But it goes without saying that if there’s something you can do that requires minimum effort and has a high pay-off, it should be employed in your plan, right?

That’s where biweekly payments come in.

What Is a Peer-to-Peer Loan?

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You may have heard of peer-to-peer lending as an alternative way to get a debt consolidation loan or other type of loan. But you might not know exactly what it is. And in fact, most people don’t.

Peer-to-peer lending is a relatively recent development. It’s a new sector of the lending industry that has been growing pretty quickly and whose growth has been helped by the fact that a lot of people are looking for alternatives to traditional loans.

17 Ways to Make Your Budget Better – Starting Today

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You know you need a budget, but how about a better budget? Even the most leak proof of financial plans benefit from occasional reevaluation and adjustment if necessary! And if you’re just starting out on your budget plan – well, why not make it the best budget that you can imagine? So wherever you are in your financial journey, here are some tips to solidify your budget and help you to rock the way that you track your spending and saving strategies:

Topics We’re Talking About: Dealing With Decision Paralysis

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Recently, whilst browsing for a new pair of shoes, I was faced with the choice of buying a blue or a red pair. Same brand. Same model. Just different colors. Simple enough… one might think. I picked up each option about 19 times, hemmed and hawed for nearly 26 minutes, and then abruptly left the store empty-handed. It wasn’t that I felt incapable of making the decision (I’m not always one for fashion but I can pick between colors), it was that I became overwhelmed by the endless possibilities that even a simple choice represented.