In order to keep your financial and personal information safe, it’s necessary to look for red flags and be proactive about security. Here's important information to help safeguard your money, your personal information, and your family today.
(BPT) - You work hard for your money. Unfortunately, crooks work hard as well, attempting various tactics to take your money. If you fall for a scam, little can be done to help you get your money back. In order to keep your financial and personal information safe, it’s necessary to look for red flags and be proactive about security.
Know the red flags
From classic methods to using sophisticated technology, criminals will try a variety of strategies to gain access to your money. If you experience any of the following, consider it a red flag and pause before you act:
Learn the do's and don'ts
The Bank of America Privacy and Security Center provides key actions you can take to help protect yourself from becoming the victim of a scam:
Learn more and find out about the latest scam and fraud prevention news by visiting www.bankofamerica.com/security.
¹Transactions typically occur in minutes when the recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number is already enrolled with Zelle.
Zelle and the Zelle-related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.
A car accident has immediate financial effects. Some hospitals will not even evaluate a person without a deposit. Hospitals do not provide information about how much treatment will cost. In an emergency situation, an accident victim may have no choice, even if it spells financial disaster. There are three tips on surviving financially after a car accident.
Loans may be another option to pay for your medical bills after a car accident. A personal loan through a credit union or a cash advance from your credit card company might help you stave off bankruptcy. Loans could also help you avoid dealing with providers who refuse to deliver any additional medical services until you are current with your account. Keep track of any loans or other debts that you make and include those in your negotiations with insurers.
Personal Injury Claim
Depending on the circumstances of your accident you might be able to file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for suffering caused by the accident. If you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you may be eligible to file a claim for pain and suffering in addition to compensation or payment of your medical costs. Some states limit the amount of money that you can get for suffering during the recovery of an accident, but it is worth consulting a lawyer to find out the details for your situation.
Use Your Insurance Benefits
If you have health insurance, use those benefits while you wait for funds from a personal injury claim. A court case could take one year or longer, and the bills will roll in well before then. Also, consider your auto insurance coverage. If you have MedPay or PIP insurance on your auto policy, then that coverage may help you pay for the initial out-of-pocket medical costs that you incur. You may also want to consider the insurance of the other driver. Their insurance may also pay for some of your medical expenses until you find out about a personal injury claim settlement.
How you immediately respond to a car accident will affect the rest of what happens after. It is also important for an accident victim to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer may be able to provide physicians, hospitals and rehabilitation centers with documentation of the pending litigation. Many lawyers also help accident victims with negotiating their bills to a level that will be covered by a settlement.
You may think that creating a household budget is as simple as adding all your income and subtracting all your expenses, but there is (or should be) quite a bit more to the equation. When you only factor in your current earnings and current expenses, you’re not planning for the future. These three steps can help put you on the path toward better finances and a budget that works for your lifestyle.
3 Steps to a Budget that Works
(Family Features) You may think that creating a household budget is as simple as adding all your income and subtracting all your expenses, but there is (or should be) quite a bit more to the equation.
When you only factor in your current earnings and current expenses, you’re not planning for the future. That means any financial goals can be easily deferred, and you may be overlooking the opportunity to shift your spending habits. These three steps can help put you on the path toward better finances and a budget that works for your lifestyle.
Beyond simply adding and subtracting a list of income and expenses, taking into account your priorities and goals can help ensure you create a practical budget that works. Find more tips for creating an appropriate financial plan that fits your personal goals and lifestyle at eLivingToday.com.
Navigating a Financial Emergency
Life’s financial emergencies happen, but 6 in 10 Americans cannot cover an unexpected $500 bill without selling something or borrowing money, according to Bankrate.
“When you don’t have cash for something you need, there are many different financing options available. However, few realize that many of these options can lead to a debt spiral that can be difficult to pull out of,” said Richard Carrano, CEO of Purchasing Power, an employee purchase program offering consumer products and services through payroll deduction.
Understanding your financing options can help ensure you make the best choice to meet your short-term needs without compromising your long-term finances.
Credit cards: Chances are, even with a shaky financial history, you can find a creditor willing to offer you a line of credit, but you’ll likely have a steep annual percentage rate that accrues each month. Furthermore, if you’re unable to repay more than the monthly minimum, you could end up carrying that debt for years before it’s fully paid down.
Employee purchase programs: Research shows that financial stress at home regularly impacts employee productivity at work. This leads many employers to offer an employee purchase program such as Purchasing Power, which allows you to buy what you need through automatic paycheck deductions over a 12-month period. There’s no credit check, zero interest and no hidden fees. There’s also a free financial wellness platform to help with budgeting, credit reports and personal coaching. Learn more at PurchasingPower.com.
Rent to own: With rent-to-own products, you pay a monthly principal amount plus service fees and taxes for a period of time, up to completing the rental agreement and owning the item outright. While the monthly rate makes items like appliances and furniture immediately accessible, renters can end up paying as much as three times the retail value of an item.
Payday/Title loans: Essentially, these loans function as a loan against a future paycheck or your vehicle. They often come with high percentage rates and fees, as well as short repayment schedules. Rely on these loans only if you can cover the entire loan and associated fees by the designated due date.
Whatever option you choose for emergency financing, understanding the repercussions can help you long-term.
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(BPT) - You’ve saved enough for a down payment, your budget is looking good and you’re earning steady income. You’re at the point in your life where you feel confident you’re ready to buy that first home. Congratulations! Buying a home is one of the most exciting and rewarding purchases you’ll ever make. However, if it’s your first time shopping for a mortgage, you may not be super knowledgeable about some of the financing terms you’ll hear, including “interest rates.”
If you’ve used any kind of credit before, you probably have a basic understanding of interest — it’s the money lenders charge in exchange for allowing you to use their funds to make a purchase. While the basic concept is simple, mortgage interest rates can be complex and differing.
“Many factors go into determining the interest rate your lender will offer you,” says Eric Hamilton, president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “By understanding the factors that influence your interest rate, you can obtain the best possible mortgage plan and get into the home of your dreams quicker.”
A variety of factors determines your interest rate, including:
* Down payment — Just as you put money down on a new car, mortgage lenders like to see down payments from homebuyers. A down payment not only reduces the total amount you need to borrow, but it also shows the lender you are able to manage money. Different lenders require different amounts for a down payment, but most would likely view 10-20 percent of the home’s purchase price to be a good down payment.
* Collateral — This is the property you agree to “put up” in exchange for the loan and serves to protect the lender against a borrower’s default. If you’re buying a manufactured home, you can collateralize the loan with either the home itself or with the home and a piece of land together. For site-built homes, the loan would be collateralized with the home and land together always.
* Loan amount — The amount you need to borrow is calculated by taking the purchase price of the home, less your down payment, and adding any other expenses that will be financed as part of the loan, which could include closing costs, discount points and third party fees.
* Credit score — Lenders will want to review the credit reports and scores for everyone who is listed as a borrower on the mortgage application. With your written permission, the lender will obtain your credit report from a credit reporting agency. Generally, the better your credit score is the more likely you will be approved, plus qualify for the best available interest rate from the lender you choose.
* Origination cost — This is the amount the lender charges to process the loan application, which includes gathering and reviewing all loan application documents, underwriting and closing your home loan. This expense typically appears on your loan documents as a “loan origination fee.”
“After you apply for a mortgage, the lender should be able to give you an idea of the interest rate you’ll likely qualify for,” Hamilton says. “With that information, you can use a monthly mortgage payment calculator to estimate just how much the mortgage payment will be each month. Knowing the monthly payment can help homebuyers make better decisions about budgeting, savings, spending and investing.”
To learn more about mortgages for manufactured homes, visit www.vmfhomeloan.com.
Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, ( http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.
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