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Working to earn and maintain great credit scores is a lot like trying to reach and maintain a healthy weight. It’s easy for some people and next to impossible for others, like me. Both goals require hard work, consistent effort, and no cheating. And when you land that FICO or VantageScore of 750, it doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and relax. Instead, the need to pay close attention to your credit is perhaps even more important — because it’s …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. The value of CNBC 2. Should I refinance? 3. Student loans or savings depletion? 4. Wireless service question 5. Questions about slow cookers 6. Roth IRA or 401(k)? 7. Using 401(k) to pay debt 8. Controlling odor with laundry soap 9. Uber basics 10. IRA basics 11. Disney …

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A house? A family? Retirement? Please. For millions of millennials saddled with debt, just thinking about these milestones of adulthood is a luxury. Before any of those things come responsibilities like the student loan bill you’ll be paying until you’re 50, monthly rent, figuring out how to pay more than the minimum on your credit card debt, cell phone bills, and maybe a ticket home to see Mom and Dad for the holidays. Thanks to the spiking price of a …

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With retailers and advertisers practically begging you to spend your money at every turn, it’s inevitable that most of us will give into a splurge every once in a while. Maybe your favorite splurge is an occasional fancy coffee at Starbucks, or a few new outfits off of the clearance rack at your favorite store. Or perhaps your addiction to splurging runs much deeper into your bottom line, causing you to overspend in ways that actually hurt your finances in …

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My strategy for investing is really simple. I ignore all of the talk about individual stocks and mutual funds that you’ll find in places like CNBC or in Money. I don’t spend time reading the Wall Street Journal or hunting down the “perfect” investment. Instead, I just put my money in broad-based index funds that charge low expenses and no fees and walk away from it. Why? I’m perfectly content to match the stock market and real estate market as …

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Are you a born spender? Many people are. Recent research shows that it might even be genetic. Still, like many genetic predispositions, just because it’s inside you doesn’t mean that you have to let it out. If you’re a born spender, here are some strategies to become a born-again saver. Automate It and Forget It Almost every financial expert agrees: The best way to start saving more is to automate your savings. When you put your savings on autopilot, it’s easier to …

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If you want one powerful, burning question to cut through your financial situation like a hot knife through butter, this is the one: Does this purchase make my life better? In other words, if you were to exchange an amount of money equal to the price of that item, does your life end up better than if you kept that money in your pocket? It’s a question I use all the time when it comes to the non-essential purchases in …

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With summertime well underway, most people are gearing up for their annual warm-weather vacation. Americans expect to spend an average of $941 per person on their summer trip this year, according to a recent survey from American Express, with all kinds of vacations and excursions planned. From beach vacations and relaxing mountain retreats to theme parks, water parks, and city adventures, American vacation plans tend to come in all shapes and sizes – and reach from shore to shore and …

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This past May, a person that I have a lot of respect for graduated from college. This person has a ton of character and a ton of humor and warmth – he’s just one of those people that you want to have around you in life. A few days after he graduated, he asked me a very simple question: If you were in my shoes and graduating from college all over again, what would you do differently? He was obviously …

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When the nightly news or government agencies report on jobs with the highest demand, they are almost always talking about jobs in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, or math. Most STEM jobs are not only high paying, but growing in number by the day. And if you have what it takes, pursuing a degree in any STEM field can be a smart way to snag a job with high pay and excellent job security. But, what if you absolutely hate …

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