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Interested in Self-Care? Stop Neglecting These Things

Practicing good self-care can be difficult if you’re ignoring the important elements that comprise total wellness. Total wellness is made up of different areas that you should address to make sure you’re feeling and doing well. When you take care of at least one thing from each area, you’ll wind up taking care of yourself.

Financial Wellness

happy friends toastingYou can’t hope to be well if your finances aren’t in order. According to Discover, you can get a handle on your finances with an easy five-step approach. It’s important to set a budget as well as set up saving accounts for your immediate and long-term needs. If you’re in debt, then make sure to make a plan to pay it off. Your route to financial wellness shouldn’t only take care of your immediate needs but also future ones like funeral expenses. When you put things in place to ensure your funeral is arranged and paid for well ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about leaving that burden on your loved ones. Make sure to contact funeral homes to determine the best way you can carry out your pre-paid funeral plans while keeping your budget intact.

Physical Wellness

When dealing with the demands of your daily life, it can be easy to let your physical wellness slide. You can put a stop to that by focusing on two things: rest and activity. These might be direct opposites, but they’re definitely on the same coin. To get a good night’s sleep, it’s best if you develop a consistent sleep routine and stay away from electronic devices or large meals close to bedtime. Even if you have a busy schedule, MoveGB suggests squeezing in workouts during commercial breaks when watching TV or doing a quick High Intensity Interval Training session, which will still provide a good workout.

Mental Wellness

lady on labptop sept 2019 blogTaking care of the first two areas on this list will go a long way towards your mental wellness, but you can go even further. If you’re dealing with a high level of stress, then it’s vital that you find a way to manage it properly. While it would be good to just remove yourself from the stressful situation, that’s more of the ideal than the norm. It might be helpful to cut down on your caffeine content and take supplements that can boost your mental health. Writing down your stressors and having a good laugh with friends are also good ideas. In your downtime, consider practicing some of the relaxation techniques suggested by Mayo Clinic like muscle relaxation and visualization. When you make a concerted effort to relax, your stress levels will not only decrease, but you’ll also stave off certain symptoms that come from stress such as high blood pressure and body pain.

Emotional Wellness

Before you tackle the emotional part of your wellness journey, it might be helpful to define it. Emotional wellness focuses on your awareness of your emotions and handling how they may change with time or circumstances. It can be tricky to get the hang of this at first, but it’s not something you should avoid. To keep on top of your emotional wellness, you’ll need to become aware of your emotions and accept them as they are before moving forward. You’ll then need to explore the link between your emotions and external circumstances so you can practice being in control of how you react to what’s happening around you. As you’re working through the steps, don’t try to force positive emotions as that’s not the point. The point is simply to become better at identifying and expressing your emotions in a healthy way.

Sometimes when people talk about wellness, they place more emphasis on the things you should add to your life without mentioning the things you’re currently ignoring. You should make the effort to stay active, rest well, eat right and take breaks so your life can be healthier and more fulfilling.

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Blog contributor: Emma Grace Brown

 

If you have been declined for a mortgage loan due to bad credit, you may find the same reason will prevent you from getting that dream apartment.  Credit checks are tools that landlords use to attempt predicting whether tenants will be paying their rent on time.  Unpaid debts from previous landlords may get bought by collectors who may then report the debt on your credit.  So, how do you improve your chances of getting that dream apartment or at the very least any apartment?  Here’s a few points to keep in mind.

Keep an eye on your credit score. apartments 2

As mentioned, landlords may check your credit to decrease their chances of renting to someone with a history of not paying their rent.  How good a credit score do you need?  The fancier the apartment the higher the credit score you will need to have.  Assuming you are not wanting an apartment with a river view, most landlords look for a minimum credit score in the low 600’s as a starting point.  So, keep an eye on your credit score and pay bills on time.

What can you do to improve your chances?

One approach may be to offer to pay a higher deposit.  If the landlord requires one month deposit, offer two months deposit.  This will give the landlord a good impression about you and you willingness to pay your rent on time and not make a mess of the place.

Another idea is to find someone to be cosigner for you.  The cosigner should have a better credit history that yours.  However, finding a cosigner may be difficult.  It is hard to find someone who is willing to take on debt or past due rent in case that you can’t pay.  Particularly, since it can affect their credit also.  So, don’t ask someone to cosign unless you are really sure that you can afford the new rent.  Don’t let a friendship get broken over this.

Getting letters of recommendation may also help if you are disciplined enough to remember to get them from previous landlords.  If you had a good payment history with past landlords, you can still ask them for one.  All you want is recommendations to show the new landlord that you can be trusted to pay your rent on time and to not leave the places in worst conditions that when you moved in.

apartmentsShowing a steady work history is helpful.  The longer you stay with an employer it shows landlords that you can be trusted to stay with a job and pay the rent.  If you job hop a lot then this puts fear in a landlord that you will have months when you can’t pay your debt.  So, may be bring w-2’s to show the new landlord longevity with current employer to increase his trust in you.

What if I still can’t get my dream apartment?

If you still can’t get your dream apartment due to bad credit, then settle for an apartment that may be not meet all expectations, but, that does not require credit checks.  This will be most like mom/pop rentals.  Most of them will be safe enough.

Lastly you may consider a roommate. Hope this points help a little bit in your search for an apartment.  Do remember to keep an eye on your credit score by using free credit reports offered.

Why Do We Need Cryptocurrencies? Are they Accepted Globally

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets based on decentralized control, which is opposite to the current banking system. Whilst in the banking system each transaction between two peers is facilitated,controlled, and monitored by a centralized body, cryptocurrencies employ distributed ledger technology where all nodes are updated to keep a ledger of information about the transaction. This allows these transactions to be safe from any frauds and since no centralized system monitors these transactions, they remain private.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Tether, and many more becoming increasingly popular around the globe. Did you know that leading businesses like Dell, Microsoft, Dish, and more accept cryptocurrencies for payment? If such huge corporations are accepting them, rest are bound to follow. One of the most popular benefits of using them is that they allow instant international transactions as opposed to banks that may take from 3 to 5 days. This completely changes everything. In respect to transferring money, cryptocurrencies are email and banking systems are snail mail. Another reason for which cryptocurrencies stand out is their high emphasis on privacy. One can anonymously own and do transactions of cryptocurrencies without giving away loads of information in comparison to files of data that banks need as KYC.

Cryptocurrencies are often misunderstood as internet money but calling it so is just like calling your smartphone a selfie camera. Currency is just one of the applications of a cryptocurrency just how the camera is just one feature of a smartphone. To learn more about various cryptocurrencies and their global acceptance, check out this infographic from Total Processing or keep reading below.

Cryptocurrency has become a global phenomenon and something that seems confusing to most. The most widely recognised cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which has reached a transactional volume of 2000.000 + a day. Cryptocurrencies aren’t going anywhere, they’re evolving and developing at an extremely fast rate.

What makes cryptocurrency so special?

Is it a digital currency that is built with cryptographic protocols that make transactions secure and difficult to fake. It is not controlled by any central authority and therefore it is theoretically immune to government control. It’s an easy way to conduct transactions without high fees. After confirmation of a transaction, it cannot be reversed. The transactions happen instantly making them fast even when sent globally. The funds are locked in a cryptography system. It offers security as only the owner of the private key can send the currency. It’s available to anyone. Anyone can download the software and start sending and receiving money.

bitcoin

Who is accepting cryptocurrency?

Large companies such as Microsoft, Dell and Dish are now accepting forms of cryptocurrency as payment. What started as a peer to peer monetary transfer, has now become a part of business and industries such as the tech industry. Some companies are starting to mine crypto-coins such as Bitcoin, in an environmentally friendly manner. The Moonlight Project aims to use only clean, sustainable energy sources to create Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain-based smart contracts also aim to help reduce the pressure heaped on small-to-medium businesses. They aim to avoid countless processes of invoicing, inventory, payroll and secure transactions. Instead, they offer smart contracts that enables SMBs to create, validate and approve contracts to suppliers, clients or customers.

Who’s pioneering in cryptocurrency (and who’s not)?

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Market insights

Christel Quek - Chief Commercial Officer, Co-Founder, BOLT.Global shared their thoughts on Bitcoin’s market movements.

Bitcoin hits $9,000 for the first time since May 2018 “Bitcoin has climbed past $9,000 - a record high since May 2018, reacting to reports of Facebook’s plans to unveil a digital currency. Investors are scrambling back into crypto assets such as bitcoin and other alternate tokens, over optimism that they are becoming widely accepted and adopted by mainstream entities. Facebook’s entry into the crypto space perhaps signifies the biggest network potential for digital currencies, capable of reaching into billions, and therefore indicates an upcoming shift in mainstream finance.

Drawing on this sentiment, investors scrambled into popular crypto currencies, pushing bitcoin by 9.4%, Litecoin by 4.4%and Ethereum by 4% from Friday’s close. Bitcoin has been up by 130% in 2019 so far, unshackling from the crypto-freeze of 2018. At BOLT, we are encouraged by the market responses and Facebook's entry into the crypto currency space. This may see further revival and growth of digital tokens this year, as more developments emerge. I wouldn’t discount a degree of volatility of course, as hobbyist investors engage in profit taking and perhaps governments attempt to legislate digital finance.”

The above 26 Jun 2019 blog was written by Rebekah Moss

 

Skimpy hospital gowns, painful shots and subzero temperatures in your doctor's exam room aren't always the worst part of getting medical treatment. Receiving a hefty medical bill after a doctor or hospital visit can be an especially bitter pill to swallow. In addition to depleting your bank account, medical bills can affect your credit if you don't pay them on time. The key to curing the problem is to take action immediately. Here's what you need to know to prevent medical bills from hurting your credit score.

Do Medical BIlls Affect Your Credit?

Simply receiving a medical bill doesn't affect your credit score, of course. Neither does paying the bill a few days late. Medical bills affect your credit score only if a collection agency gets involved.

medical cost affect your creditIf you don't pay your bill and it becomes significantly past due, your health care provider may give up on collecting the debt from you and sell it to a collection agency. The collection agency then takes over the debt and starts contacting you to get payment.

When exactly is a bill past due? Each health care provider's office has its own practices. Typically, providers wait 90 days before turning your medical debt over to collections; however, some providers will wait 180 days, while others will wait just 60 days.

To help standardize medical debt reporting and protect consumers' credit reports from being unduly affected by medical debt, the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) now employ a 180-day waiting period before medical debt appears in your credit history. This six-month grace period is designed to give you enough time to correct any errors on your bill, pay the bill or get your insurance company to pay it, figure out a payment plan or otherwise resolve the problem. By taking action within the 180 days, you can prevent medical bills from hurting your credit score.

How Long Do Medical Collections Stay on Your Credit Report?

Unpaid medical bills can stay on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date. Because your payment history is the biggest single factor in your credit score, accounting for about 35% of your score, having a collection account such as unpaid medical debt in your credit history can have a significant negative impact.

credit score picIn recent years, health care costs have risen, making medical debt a serious burden for more and more Americans. In the U.S., the average inpatient hospital stay costs over $22,000, according to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The latest FICO credit scoring model, FICO 9, as well as the VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 credit scoring models, all give less weight to unpaid medical collections than to other collections. FICO® Score*  9 also ignores collection accounts if the original unpaid balance was less than $100. In addition, all three major credit scoring agencies will remove medical debt from your credit history once it is paid off by an insurer.

The problem is, different banks and lenders may use different credit scoring models. When you apply for a car loan, mortgage or credit card, you won't know exactly which credit scoring model is being used, so you have no idea how heavily medical debt is weighted when determining your creditworthiness.

Clearly, unpaid medical bills can leave your credit score in critical condition. To keep your credit score healthy, you should do everything in your power to prevent a medical bill from ever going to collections in the first place.

How to Keep Medical Bills off Your Credit Report

The good news is that in most situations, a little vigilance, knowledge and organization are all it takes to keep your medical bills from going to collections. Take these steps when you're planning any doctor visit or medical procedure:

    1. Know what to expect. Get familiar with your health insurance plan so you know exactly what it covers, what it doesn't and what your copay will be for a visit or procedure. Armed with this information, you're less likely to make costly mistakes such as visiting an out-of-network doctor or not asking for a generic version of a prescription drug.

If you don't have health insurance or your insurance doesn't cover the visit or procedure, find out ahead of time how much you can expect to be charged. (You probably won't get an exact figure, but you can get a range or estimate.) This is also a good time to find out if the health care provider offers any payment plans or accepts medical credit cards, such as CareCredit.

    1. Keep track of your medical bills. Make it a habit to read any letters, emails or other communications from your health care provider as soon as you receive them. That way, you'll catch mistakes quickly and can contact the provider to iron out any problems right away.

If you recently had a procedure or visited a doctor and haven't received a bill, contact the health care provider to make sure they have your correct address and that you didn't miss a bill. Do you receive bills by email? Make sure to add your providers to your email address book so their messages don't get lost in your junk or spam folders.

  1. Make sure the charges are accurate. Medical offices and insurers make mistakes. Simple human errors such as miscoding a medical procedure can result in incorrect charges. Review each medical bill carefully and compare it against your insurance company's benefits to see if you're being charged the correct amount. If not, contact the health care provider's billing office, your health insurance company or both to let them know. After a hospital stay or complex procedure, ask for an itemized bill so you can check specific charges for accuracy.

What if you've done all of the above and still end up with a medical bill you can't pay? Don't panic: There are a few options that can help you keep the bill from going to collections.

  • Try to negotiate your medical bills. The best time to negotiate medical costs is before your treatment or procedure, but you can also try to do so afterwards. Some health care providers charge lower rates for patients who don't have health insurance and are paying out of pocket (known as "private pay"). Websites such as Healthcare Bluebook and FairHealth let you research the average cost of specific procedures in your area. You can use the information to choose care providers and as leverage to negotiate lower prices.
  • Work out a repayment plan. What if your health care bill is as low as it's going to get, but it's still more than you can pay? See if you can set up a monthly payment plan with the provider. Many providers would rather work with you than send the bill to collections. Contacting your health care provider's billing office immediately to discuss repayment will show you're acting in good faith (and will give you more time to pay the bill).
  • Keep an eye on your credit report. Are collection agencies calling about a medical debt you've never heard of before? Legitimate medical debts sometimes go to collections without you ever receiving a bill. This might happen if your provider has an incorrect address for you or if your mail is misdelivered. If you have a common name, it's possible you're being charged with someone else's bill. Finally, some collection calls regarding medical debt are scams. Before you panic (or pay anything), ask the collection agency to provide proof of the debt in writing. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they must give you this information within five days.

The best way to avoid getting blindsided by a collection agency? Get a free credit report on a regular basis and review it carefully. If you find errors or any suspicious activity in your credit history, contact the credit reporting agency right away to set the record straight.

Prevent Medical Bills From Hurting Your Credit Score

Medical treatment can leave a scar, and when it leads to a big medical bill you can't pay, it can also leave a mark on your credit score. This is one situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take a few simple precautions whenever you get medical treatment, and you'll help keep medical debt from dinging your credit score.

The article above appeared on Experian's October 22, 2019 blog by Karen Axelton.

Getting saddled with student loans has become the new norm, and what you pay depends on the number of loans you take out and the amount borrowed under each. For instance, most students apply for federal loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program, and some look at private loans. However, the Financial Aid Guide published by Maryville University states that tuition for public and private universities can range from $20,000 to $30,000 a year, and to get through this, most students would need a combination of both federal and private loans. More loans equal more interest, which means higher amounts to pay after graduation. This makes student loans a College Loanheavy burden to bear, and achieving financial success even harder. In fact, a survey published on Business Insider found that the new standard for financial success for young adults isn't about being wealthy at all — most people aspire to simply be debt-free.

This is understandable, as this financial burden can be a hindrance to your life choices for years after college. You might avoid making risky decisions at work, or you’ll hold off doing something you love in order to pay your debt. So if all this sounds familiar to you, we've outlined some key tips to help you tackle your student loans:

Have a Payment Plan

The first and most vital step is to create a payment plan for yourself. Make a list of your debts, and rank them according to interest.

In this regard, personal finance writer Luke Landes lists two ways you can pay your debt: snowball payments or avalanche payments. Snowball payments involve prioritizing the smallest debt first, giving the rest of your debts minimum payments. Once the lowest debt is finished, add your payments from that to the minimum payment of your next debt. In this way, the snowball method gives you a feeling of accomplishment from seeing results faster. On the other hand, avalanche payments comprise of large payments to the debt with the highest interest rate first, and minimum payments for the rest. Though this method is a little more challenging, it helps you save on interest in the long run, and will eventually help you pay off your debts sooner.

Regardless of the method, a payment plan can also help you achieve one step highlighted by our article on how to ‘Raise Your Credit Score’, which is making payments on time. Taking care of your credit score can benefit you in the long run, as it can make future financial transactions much easier.

Create your budget — and stick to it

Once you’ve landed a job, budgeting your income is vital to help you ensure that you pay your debt on time. This will also help you see where you can cut down on spending, and instead, place that extra money towards your debt payment and even some savings.

Make bi-weekly payments

Switching to bi-weekly payments is one way to trick yourself into paying more — and it won’t even seem like it, until you do the math. For instance, paying $150 bi-weekly for one year (26 weeks) equals $3,900, while paying $300 monthly for one year is $3,600. This method enables you to give 13 months’ worth of payment instead of 12, shaving off time out of your payment schedule and reducing your interest at the same time.

Find a program that suits you

There are plenty of programs that can help you out with your student loans. Most of them, however, only apply for federal loans, such as loan forgiveness, income-based repayment, and loan repayment assistance programs. For those with private loans, Credit Sesame's Adrian Nazari recommends finding companies with a loan repayment program as an employee benefit, as this can go a long way in clearing your debt.

For many, paying off student loan debts is an important achievement towards long-term financial wellness. Stay motivated, and you’ll rid yourself of your debt faster than you anticipated. After all, the best way out is always through.

Prepared for americasloancompany.com

By Heidi Smith

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