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Feds Meet Without Increasing Interest Rates + How a Rate Hike Can Effect Your Pocket

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The Federal Reserve concluded its two-day policy meeting without increasing interest rates, although it’s expected the central bankers will lift rates before year-end. Thus far, the Fed has raised interest rates three times this year due to economic growth and inflation. The last increase set the target for the benchmark federal funds rate at 2% to 2.25%. But what does an interest rate hike mean for your pockets? According to MotleyFool.com here are 6 Ways a Fed Rate Hike Can Effect Your Wallet:

1. Get ready for higher rates on savings accounts

As the Federal Reserve increases interest rates, banks may feel compelled to pay a higher interest rate on your savings and checking accounts. Many regional and online banks are now paying close to 2% on cash kept in a savings account, while others are paying 3% or more on five-year certificates of deposit. As interest rates rise, the most competitive banks will increase the interest rates they pay to savers every time the Fed acts.

Of course, whether or not your personal bank will increase your interest rate depends on how hungry it is for deposits. One of the best indicators that a bank may choose to increase the rate it pays for deposits is its loan-to-deposit ratio, which divides its loans outstanding by the deposits its customers entrust with the institution. The higher the ratio, the more likely a bank will have to compete for deposits by increasing rates paid to its customers.

2. Your credit card debt will become more costly

While the Federal Reserve increases rates by increasing the federal funds rate, the increases affect other lending benchmarks, such as the prime rate, too. In the last three years, the prime rate has increased by 1.5 percentage points, while the effective federal funds rate increased by about 1.6 percentage points. The relationship between the prime rate and the effective federal funds rate can be a big deal for credit card users, particularly those who carry a balance.

If you look carefully at the terms and conditions of your credit card, you’ll likely find that the rate charged on your balance is calculated by adding a premium on top of the prime rate. Thus if your card charged an APR equal to Prime plus 10.5%, it would currently carry an APR of 15.25%, based on the current prime rate of 4.75%. That’s roughly in line with the last reported national average of 15.3%. Of course, if you pay your balance in full every month, as you should, the rate you pay on your credit card is irrelevant. Credit cards only charge interest when you carry a balance from month to month.

3. Auto buyers should expect higher APRs

One thing you should know about the Federal funds rate is that it is a super short-term (overnight) interest rate. Thus, when the Federal Reserve votes to increase interest rates, it has the greatest impact on short-term loans such as car loans, which are typically paid off over the course of 48 to 72 months.

Data from the Federal Reserve shows that the finance rate on 60-month auto loans has increased from 4.05% in November 2017 to 4.75% in February 2018, driven in part by the Fed’s decision to raise the benchmark rate. The good news, though, is that many auto manufacturers still offer 0% APRs to buyers with excellent credit. Plus, higher rates have a much smaller impact on affordability for short-term loans like car loans than they do to longer-term loans like mortgages. The difference between paying 4% or 5% interest on a five-year, $30,000 auto loan amounts to only $14 a month, which is a rounding error on a payment in excess of $500 per month.

4. Your insurance premiums could fall

It’s smart to shop around for auto or homeowners insurance frequently to get the lowest premiums, advice that is especially true in a rising-rate environment. Because insurance is prepaid, (premiums are paid before coverage kicks in), insurers are able to invest the money and earn a small amount of interest due to the lag in when they receive cash from customers and when they pay out cash for claims.

The insurance industry is extremely competitive, and insurers price insurance policies partly based on how much they can earn investing the premiums they take in from every contract. When rates are high, insurance companies can afford to charge less for the same coverage, since they anticipate making more money by investing the premiums for short periods of time. Of course, you shouldn’t expect that your car insurer will lower your rate just because interest rates are rising. Shop around, and if you find a lower quote, ask your existing insurer to match the premium, or be prepared to change companies altogether.

5. College financing costs rise

Current undergraduate students will see a higher interest rate on government student loans for the 2018 and 2019 school year. In the upcoming year, interest rates will rise to 5.05%, up from 4.45% during the 2017 to 2018 school year. Luckily, Stafford loans for school carry a fixed interest rate, so the rate increase only affects new borrowings, not existing loans.

Rates for federal student loans are set by Congress. The rate is based on how much it costs the government to borrow money for a 10-year term. Thus, when rates on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note increase, so do rates on government student loans. As the Fed has increased short-term interest rates, investors are demanding a higher rate from longer-term U.S. government notes, and federal student loan rates are rising in response.

6. Your mortgage payment may swell

Homeowners who have variable rate mortgages are likely to see their monthly mortgage payments increase with each increase in the Federal funds rate. That’s because variable rate mortgages are typically based on a short-term interest benchmark, such as the Prime rate or LIBOR. Both the Prime rate and LIBOR increase almost 1-for-1 when the Federal Reserve decides to increase interest rates, affecting anyone who has an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Luckily, people who have a fixed-rate mortgage won’t see their interest rates increase, and new homebuyers may just find that higher overnight rates have little impact on long-term 30-year fixed mortgages. Note that while the Federal funds rate increased by about 1.6 percentage points since the fall of 2015, rates on 30-year mortgages have increased only about 0.7 percentage points. That’s because mortgage rates are influenced more by long-term interest rates and the demand for mortgage-backed securities (packages of mortgages that are sold to investors). Fixed mortgage rates are affected indirectly by Fed policy.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

Amazon has 30,000 Jobs they Need to Fill + How the Gig Economy is Making it Hard for Them to Fill

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Amazon has more open jobs than ever before. The company is attempting to hire 30,000 permanent employees in the U.S. alone. The jobs are spread out across departments and at locations throughout the country. Filling them is an especially tall order in such a tight labor market, with unemployment hovering near a 50-year low. To get started, the tech and retail giant will hold job fairs on Sept. 17 in six cities: Arlington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville and Seattle.

Jobs may be so abundant because of the growth of the gig economy that allows people to work where they want doing what they want. Gig economy jobs continue to grow in popularity in the U.S., accounting for at least 5% of the workforce. So how do you fully take advantage? Moneyish.com recently wrote an article titled: The secret to making $115 an hour in the gig economy

In the article they give us 10 best fields for gig workers based on pay and job availability:

Artificial Intelligence – Deep Learning: $115 per hour
Blockchain Architecture: $87 per hour
Robotics: $77 per hour
Ethical Hacking: $66 per hour
Cryptocurrency: $65 per hour
Amazon Web Services Lamda Coding: $51 per
Virtual Reality: $50 per hour
React.JS Developers: $41 per hour
Final Cut Pro Editors: $37 per hour
Instagram Marketing: $31 per hour

The first trend you might notice is that this list is dominated by tech jobs. Gavin Graham, the special projects editor for FitSmallBusiness.com, says this is because these types of jobs lend themselves well to the gig economy and are growing fields that pay well.

So what exactly do people in the no. 1-rated artificial intelligence-deep learning field do? “They help develop “the technology that drives the ability of artificial intelligence to ‘learn’ and adapt,” says Graham. “Jobs in this field include developers who code the underlying algorithms using tools and programming languages, such as MATLAB, Python, Java, C++, Tensorflow, etc..,” he adds.

One possible surprise on the list: Instagram marketing. It lands on the list because job growth has been very rapid, he explains. While many companies have worked on Facebook and Twitter marketing, their Instagram platforms are less developed — and in need of help.

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Ariana Grande sues Forever 21 for $10 million + How to Protect Yourself From Those Trying to Steal Your Identity

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In a complaint filed on Monday, megastar Ariana Grande said Forever 21 and Riley Rose misappropriated her name, image, likeness, and music, including employing a “strikingly similar” looking model, in a website and social media campaign early this year.

She said this followed the breakdown of talks for a joint marketing campaign because Forever 21 would not pay enough for “a celebrity of Ms. Grande’s stature,” whose longer-term endorsements generate millions of dollars in fees.

This is a classic case of identity theft and while we can’t sue identity thieves for $10 million dollars, there are some practical ways that we could put ourselves less in risk. Here are four ways to protect yourself:

1. Change your password – I know it can be annoying to have to change your password or remember a new one, but it is important that you stop hackers dead in their tracks. Change your password regularly and make sure you include a variety of symbols, so hackers have a tough time guessing what it is.

2. Create a different username and password – Instead of using your Facebook login for all sites, create separate usernames and password per site. This way the breach doesn’t come from another third party, and you can better protect your account.

3. Set up two-factor authentication – Add another layer of protection to your account. Two-factor authentication It is a setting in Facebook where you can choose either text message codes or a third-party authentication as your primary security method. This way you know when someone is trying to do something fishy with your account.

4. Delete your personal info – The next time you log onto Facebook, take the time to delete some of the more personal information you have shared to reduce your risk of exposure in future attacks.

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SATs Keeps its Same Scoring Model + A Scoring Model You Better Undertand

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The SATs are changing course following backlash over a plan to assign an adversity score to every student who takes the exam. The original adversity score was made up of ratings for the student’s school and neighborhood environments and was intended to capture the obstacles a student might have overcome. Critics said over-eager parents could use the score to game college admissions. Instead, the College Board will use a different system in an attempt to capture a test taker’s social and economic background. For many SAT scores can make the difference in so many lives but what other score affects your well-being?

Many people are aware of the important role the credit rating plays in their lives. However, understanding what goes into a credit score (the credit score breakdown) might present some difficulty. There are several different methods of scoring, but most lenders and banks rely on the FICO method that has been in existence since the 1980s when it was developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. The three prominent credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) all worked with Fair Isaac to come up with the FICO algorithm.

Your credit score may be any number from 300 to 850. The average American falls at about 690, which is deemed relatively good credit. However, while this score should secure you a loan, it will not get you the very best interest rates on loan. In fact, 300-640 = Bad Credit, 641-680 = Fair Credit, 681-720 = Good Credit, and 721-850 = Excellent Credit. Excellent credit should be the aim.

Following is the credit score breakdown:

Payment History

The biggest chunk of your score (35%) is derived from your payment history. This score is influenced by how well (or not) you pay your bills on time, how many have been sent to collection agencies, bankruptcies, tax liens, etc. Keep in mind that missing a payment is worse than making a late payment and that being late or especially missing a mortgage payment is a bigger blow to your credit score than missing a credit card or utility payment.

Usage Ratio

The amount of debt you have (compared to the amount of credit you have not used) accounts for 30 percent of your score. Try not to max your credit cards out. In fact, it is recommended that you only use 25 to 50 of the credit that is available to you. A way to balance this out is to obtain more lines of credit and not use them. However, you do not want to apply for a bunch of credit cards all at once as this is marked against you. If your credit is in good standing, apply for a reputable card every six months or so and save it for a rainy day.

Length of Credit History

Fifteen percent of your credit score is based on how long you’ve established credit. This is common sense. The longer your credit history, the better your overall score will be. More data about your past leads to a more accurate prediction of your future credit worthiness.

Credit Mix

Having several types of credit will actually boost your score if they are managed well. This counts for 10 percent of the overall rating.

New Credit

As mentioned earlier, opening new credit accounts all at once will negatively affect your score in the short term. It’s also important that you are aware that your score can be lowered for too many “hard inquiries” about your status. A “hard inquiry” is one that you have authorized a lender to perform. If you are inquiring about your own score, this will not count against you.

Understanding what goes into the credit score breakdown is the first step in improving your score and what will allow you to design your score and begin you on the journey to financial freedom.

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