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Want to improve your credit score? Want to cut your tax bills?  Like to tear up hundred dollar bills? (You're probably doing that). How about this:  want to wake up retired and without money?  Your Financial Well-being rules your life.  We put you in charge of the rules.

What’s Your “Credit Score” and How Can It Affect Your Credit?

altWhat is your credit score? And why is it important? In this report, I give you some basic facts about credit scoring that highlight its importance to your financial health. Credit scoring is a system of statistically analyzing credit reports that provides a simple three-digit score comparing an individual's past and current credit performance to that of similar consumers. Your credit score provides lenders, or other potential creditors such as insurance companies or landlords, a quick, fairly objective way to assess your creditworthiness—or likely ability to pay back a loan or mortgage or pay the rent. Knowing your credit score (along with regularly checking your credit report) is a smart thing to do.

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Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

credit_consolodateWhether your credit is already good or could use some improvement, managing your personal finances in ways that enhance your creditworthiness is always smart. Adopting sound practices that enhance your credit score is a good place to start.

The topic of credit scores has been in the personal finance news since credit reporting agencies began to make such scores available to consumers several years ago. This event has opened the door to a number of Web-based companies that offer to provide your score — along with outrageous fees — for what may be inaccurate information. You can get all this information yourself for much less. The Money Matters Report, "What's Your Credit Score, and How Can it Affect Your Credit?" explains credit scoring and tells you how to get accurate information about your score for a reasonable fee.

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Thinking of Donating Your Used Vehicle to Charity?

altDozens of radio and TV ads from many different charities are currently flooding the airwaves suggesting that you donate your used car or boat. Are you considering it? If so, then you need to know how the 2005 changes in IRS rules might affect the tax deductibility of your gift. You also need to know how to check out the charity you're considering. This month's report will help you do these things wisely. Planning to donate to a charity but not necessarily a vehicle? You'll want to read this report too. I'm going to start with the most important thing—how to check out the charity so that you know your dollars will go where you want them to. Then, I'll share the technical details about vehicle donation.

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Check, Credit Card or Debit Card? Choosing a Payment Method for Security and Convenience

secure_creditHow do you pay for everyday purchases or bills? Cash? Check? Credit Card? Debit Card? If you are like most people, you use a combination of these methods—and more. The advent and growth of electronic banking has encouraged many people to move more and more from paper (cash, checks) to plastic (credit cards, debit cards). All these payment methods have roles to play in personal financial management today.

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