5 Ways to Start Building Good Credit at a Young Age

    Posted in : Uncategorized on by : Brian Connor Comments:

    For people who are just hitting college age, constructing a good credit history may seem like the absolute least of their overall problems. But in the world today, proving your responsibility in financial matters is more important than ever.

    A good credit score leads to better interest rates when applying for a loan and/or mortgage. But it can also help you when renting an apartment, and even when going for a job after college. So building credit early will help you in the long term.

    Here are a few ways to get started.

    1. Apply for a Credit Card
    apply-for-a-credit-cardThe most traditional way to build credit is by applying for a major credit card and paying down the balance every month. Obtaining a card with reasonable interest rates is hard when you have no previous credit history. There are some programs available for college students, but even these have some difficult requirements to meet.

    2. Become an Authorized User on Your Parent’s Credit Card

    The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 made it that much harder for young people to get their own Visa or MasterCard. Practically the only way someone under 21 years old is going to get a credit card is to have a parent cosign for them. But there is one way around this problem: Ask your parents to allow you to become an authorized user on their credit card.

    This is a very common first step in building credit. But beware! There are some problems to think about first. If your mother and/or father are paying their credit card bill consistently, your FICO score will see a considerable boost. However, if they don’t pay, your credit score will be affected just as theirs. Become involved in paying down the family credit card each month. And remember to be considerate of the primary account holder—they’re the ones who are ultimately responsible for paying the balance of the card.


    3. Look Into Secured Credit Cards

    The temptation of spending beyond your means is a common problem for younger adults. Getting a secured card may be the best option for someone between the ages of 18 to 21 years old. A secured card allows the holder to make an initial deposit as collateral. Your limit will be determined by how much you put down initially.

    One benefit to secured cards is that once you show you can pay your minimum balance, a lot of lenders will allow you to upgrade to a normal, unsecure card. How cool is that!?


    4. Apply for a Store Card

    If you are unable to get a normal card, store cards are usually easier to get. While interest rates may be higher, they won’t matter as long as you keep a low balance. Getting one or to store cards—and spending conservatively—can end up having a great impact on your credit score!


    5. Pay Rent to Build Credit
    1x-1If you are already renting an apartment, your name is on the lease, and you pay each month o time, you are well on your way to earning good credit. The problem is not all landlords pass along your payment history to credit reporting agencies. So the best thing to do in this case is ask your landlord if you can pay thru services like ClearNow or RentTrack. Paying thru these agencies allows your rent payments to show up on your credit report.



    The bottom line: Showing responsibility from a young age is important! Having a good credit score affects a large part of your finances. You’ll be happy that you took so much time to build up your credit rating at a younger age.

    How to Pay for College

    Posted in : Uncategorized on by : Brian Connor Comments:

    Asking how one pays for college is like asking, “How do I get in shape?” There are many ways to get there, but there’s not always a straight path forward. For all college expenses (tuition, room and board, meal plans, etc.), you’ll most likely have to go into your long term savings. But for the average family, not even half of their savings and income are enough to pay for college. Grants, scholarships, and student loans are how you pay the rest.


    Check out our guide on navigating the costs of a college education.

    1. Look Into Filling Out the FAFSA

    financialaid2016
    The FAFSA is an application for student aid provided on the federal-level. This is the first thing you fill out if you are looking to apply for financial aid for college. FAFSA will put you in line for grants, work-study programs, and student aid.

    Even if you don’t think you qualify for federal student aid, it’s worth filling out the FAFSA anyway just to know what you are entitled. Many students are able to qualify for some kind of student aid package regardless of family income.


    2. Educate Yourself on Available Scholarships

    After filling out the FAFSA, it will take a while to find out what you are qualified for in terms of federal aid and school-based programs. Use this time to search for private scholarships offered by schools and other academic initiatives.

    There are an astounding number of scholarships available. Scholarships can be awarded based on GPA, race or ethnicity, athletics, and for certain hobbies.

    Start looking for scholarship opportunities as early as possible. Don’t wait until you are a senior in high school to find something that works for you. Many colleges and universities even offer full-rides to students who show excellent academic aptitude as early as your sophomore year.


    3. Review Your Student Aid Opportunities & Make a Decision!

    Usually you will receive a letter of your scholarship awards or student aid entitlements a semester before you are planning to attend college. Here are some of the differences between each of the financial aid options offered.

    Scholarships: This is commonly referred to as “gift aid.” This is money that you do not have to pay back. These are offered by government on the federal and state-level. Scholarships and grants are usually offered based on academic merit or your background.

    Work Study Programs: Part of the federal work-study program which allows you to work in campus jobs part-time to pay for your own college.
    7585_1_largeStudent Loans: There are a lot of loans offered by the government that can be used to pay for your education. This type of financial aid has to be paid-back to lenders, however. But the interest rates of student loans are pretty reasonable.

    When it comes to student aid—like loans—it’s best to only apply for how much you expect to make in your first year out of college. The cool thing is you don’t have to take more than you need. Always take federal loans before you apply for private ones. A lot of times with federal loans, you can apply for loan forgiveness programs to get rid of the debt you’re not able to pay for. That’s something you won’t see with private loans.


    1. Only Use Private Loans If There Aren’t Any Options

      Often times there are gaps in your payments for college. Gaps that may need to be supplemented by private money from relatives or other institutions. But as mentioned previously, federal loans are the better way to go when paying for college.

      But if you do need to use private loans, weigh your options before choosing a lender. You want to find the best deals possible with the least amount of interest rates. It is wise to use a student loan calculator so you can find out what you’ll be owing month-to-month after you graduate for college with interest rates included.



      Overall, student aid is a very important thing to consider when applying to colleges. People say you can always lose a house or lose a car, but an education is something that will stay with you forever!

    Is It Worth Investing in Expensive Golf Clubs?

    Posted in : Uncategorized on by : Brian Connor Comments:

    You may think golf is an expensive hobby. That golf equipment is quite expensive, and that a membership at a good club is not something that you can quite afford right now. However, a lot of that is just untrue nowadays. Gold has really become an everyman’s kind of sport. But the question still stands: Do you need to invest in expensive golf clubs to play a better game?



    Quality often comes with a price. But skill doesn’t always come with an expensive set of clubs. Just because someone is flaunting a new set of expensive clubs doesn’t mean that they are on track to become the next Tiger Woods. To develop a good swing, you just need the basics: a few irons, woods, and a putter. Inexpensive golf balls are also a must for new golfers who want to test their skills. For the best set of clubs for someone just starting out, consult reviews by golf experts.


    Rather than purchasing expensive golf clubs, beginners will find more benefit in golf lessons and actual practice at the driving range. Many universities offer affordable golf lessons by professional golfers. Group lessons are inexpensive when the cost is split with a couple friends. Many courses offer one-day golf seminars. There are also many public courses that let you play for free!

    The bottom line is that golf will require an investment of time and effort, not just money. The best thing you can do is invest in yourself, and your golf game will improve dramatically.