Signup to receive email updates

or follow our RSS feed

Blog Archives

547 Total Posts

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Credit Report
credit monitoring

How to Protect Yourself When Your Social Security Number is Public Information

In the last few years, we've had data breaches at the IRS, grocery stores, retail stores and now a major credit bureau. After much thought, I've come to accept that my Social Security number is no longer private, and won't be for the rest of my life. In addition, because I care more about someone using my identity for financial gain than anyone else, it's up to me to monitor my financial ac...

Read More >


To Freeze or Not Freeze My Credit Report?

With the recent data breach at Equifax, a credit bureau company, you may be wondering whether you should freeze your credit report. I am one of the people Equifax has identified as "potentially impacted" by the data breach so I've been pondering my actions. First, what is a credit freeze? A credit freeze stops the credit bureau from releasing your credit report...

Read More >

credit invisible

Are You Credit Invisible?

Do you have a credit history? If you're not planning to borrow money, perhaps you think it's not important. Well, your credit history can affect your finances even when you're not borrowing money! Insurance companies, perspective employers (for some types of jobs), and utility companies may be looking at your credit report or credit score to determine what to charge you or whether to offer you...

Read More >

First Credit Card - part 3

Care and Feeding of your first card. Steps toward your first Credit Card part 3

In previous posts, I have talked about deciding if you can handle a credit card by looking at your spending habits ( read that post here ) and the next step of determining which card is for you ( read that post here ). By now you have...

Read More >

Steps Toward Your First Credit Card-part 2

Next Steps Toward Your First Credit Card

In part one, we talked about the preparation needed before choosing your first credit card ( read it here ). Knowing your financial habits and background is necessary before entering into the world of credit. Credit can be a useful tool if utilized carefully. It can be your worst nightmare if used recklessly. Once assured that your financial habits ca...

Read More >

First Credit Card - 1

Steps Towards Your First Credit Card

I was asked recently about how someone should go about choosing their first credit card. I remembered the first card I got and how poorly I handled it. I was so thrilled to have one and immediately made plans to buy a big color television set so I could watch the Olympics in color. Growing up, we only had a black and white set and a small one at that. My father did not see a need for color. How...

Read More >


How to Guard Your Social Security Number!

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about scams and what tasks you need to do right away if you become a victim . Recently my sister had her...

Read More >


Scam-Grams! Watch out!

Everyday someone falls victim to a scam or fraud. With the help of technology, scams happen more often each day. Recently a member of my family fell into a scam. She went to look for some help online with her printer, searched online for the phone number and called asking for help. After 45 minutes on the phone, the scammers installed software to "help" her printer and then asked her for $75. T...

Read More >


Plan Well Retire Well Wins National Award

I'd like to take a minute to toot our own horn. The writing team behind the Plan Well Retire Well blog just won two awards for Internet Education Communications from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at their annual conference held November 2-5, 2015 in White Sulfur Springs WV. We received first-place in the Central regi...

Read More >

Credit Score Relationships3-01

"C-Harmony": Using Credit Scores to Predict Relationship Success

There's a new tool you can use to help predict if the person you are dating is a good prospect for a long committed relationship. It is your credit score. It is one more reason to improve your credit report and keep it good. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Board looked at 12 million randomly sel...

Read More >

Sasha Learns

Sasha Learns: How to Buy a House - The Credit Question

One of the largest factors of purchasing a house comes down to your credit. What does it look like and will you be able to purchase a house with your history and score? People tend to focus on the score, and while it is important – the history is what creates the score . Together with my husband we tackled this credit question in the following few steps....

Read More >

credit score ratings from e-news

FICO 9 May Improve Your Credit Score – Someday

You answer the phone. Or open a letter that came in the mail. It's from a collection agency. A medical bill that you never knew existed has been turned over to collections. What goes through your mind? "My credit score just went down the tubes." I may have some good news for you. Under FICO 9 – the new version of that credit score which was just released – that collection action...

Read More >


Conquering the apocalypse of zombie debt

We have learned a lot about zombies from the movies. There are ways to keep zombies from eating your brain. Bar the doors, understand and choose your weapons, figure out your escape route. Similar tactics can help you be victorious in standing down the debt apocalypse. What is Zombie debt? In short, zombie debt is debt you thought was long gone coming back to ha...

Read More >

id theft2

Your Financial Family Portrait

I have been pushing people to get a current copy of their credit bureau report on a regular basis for a while now. It is a good way to have a snapshot of your credit accounts and payment history and a method to catch identity theft before it gets totally out of hand. To do this you should get a free credit report every 4 months or so. The government requires that each of the three credit reporting...

Read More >

secured credit

How Can I Build a Credit History? Consider a Secured Credit Card

I frequently hear, "I can't get a credit card because I don't have a credit history, but how can I get a credit history without a card?" It can be tough to get that first credit card at the best of times, and with a tight credit market many young people are especially finding it hard build their credit history. What's can you do? One possibility is to apply for a secured credit card. A...

Read More >

Protect Your Loved One's Identity after Death

In Loved One's Documents Go Missing and Others Materialize Karen wrote about the challenges of tracking down documents after her father died. Sometimes when a close relativ...

Read More >

Holiday Blast from the Past

My holiday plans this year include an interesting mix of tradition and a little bit new. And, as usual, I find myself striving to find a balance between time and money; always a challenge but especially during the holiday season. Reading over blog posts from previous years, I found that several holiday posts were helpful to me and still relevant. I thought you might enjoy them too. Past...

Read More >

What to Expect When You Check Your Credit History by Phone

Last month, I obtained my credit report from two of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies online and wrote about that experience in my May 18 post . Today, I requested the third one by phone so that I could compare that with the onlin...

Read More >

Checking my credit report -- oops!

In the last Plan Well, Retire Well blog pos t Karen talked about how to access your credit report o...

Read More >

What to Expect When You Check Your Credit History Online

When the FACT Act gave us all the right to get a copy of our credit histories once each year from each of the credit reporting agencies, I was sure I would get mine every year. I've gotten lazy! I decided today was the day to correct that, and I thought I'd share some of my experiences with you. I had a few surprises about t...

Read More >

Time to Check Your Credit Report

How long has it been since you saw a copy of your credit history? If it's been more than a year, it's time to check it again. Your credit report changes constantly, with lenders reporting new information each month. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit major bureaus. (Sorry, but you'll have to pay to get your credit score.) To get...

Read More >

Old Debt: Does It Ever Go Away?

"I have a bill from six years ago that I never paid. If I made a payment on it now, would it re-start the seven year clock for getting it off my credit report?" This question frequently comes in my workshops, so it is obviously an area of confusion. The short answer is, No, making a payment on an old debt does not re-set the seven year clock for being reported on your credit history. H...

Read More >

Looking for a job? What you need to know about your credit report

I'm sure you've heard many a time that you should check your credit report regularly to be sure that it accurately represents your credit history. In fact, you need to check your reports from all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) as they are likely to be different from one another. And, you probably know that you should go to...

Read More >

What's in Your Wallet?

You have probably seen the Capital One commercial that asks the question "What's in Your Wallet?" To my surprise, many people are walking around with a lot of information that should not be in their wallet. This summer when I was doing a credit workshop with young adults ranging in age from 18-24, I asked "by a show of hands, how many of you carry your social security card in your wallet/" No...

Read More >

Debt Settlement Advertisements: Are They for Real?

I hear them all the time on the radio – ads proclaiming: As a result of the American Reinvestment Act, if you have over $10,000 in credit card debt, you are entitled to settle for pennies on the dollar... or something to that effect. It may sound pretty tempting. And the ads play on consumer outrage about bank bailouts, stati...

Read More >