Stock Market Today: Investors Head for Safety Amid Another Selloff

Stocks stumbled for the second consecutive day Tuesday, and they did so again amid a fairly slow drip of news.

Both domestically and globally, a pickup in COVID-19 cases is fostering worries about the size and pace of the economic recovery, though at the same time, the world’s number of vaccinated continue to grow.

“Stocks are dropping again today with no clear catalysts. Markets are a little stretched at this point, so we may see stocks take a small step back here and there. That’s normal, and we’d expect any dip to be bought quickly,” says Callie Cox, senior investment strategist for Ally Invest, who points out that recent action has come amid low trading volume. “As long as volume stays low and news is quiet, we may see this wandering market continue to search for direction.”

When investors were buying, they were choosing safety: Utilities (+1.3%) and real estate (+1.1%) topped all other sectors Tuesday.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8% to 33,821. The Dow was led lower by the likes of Nike (NKE, -4.2%) which was downgraded on concerns over boycotts in China, and Boeing (BA, -4.1%), which dropped after CEO David Calhoun said its dividend likely won’t be returning in the short term.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 lost 0.7% to 4,134, and the Nasdaq Composite declined by 0.9% to 13,786.

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Other action in the stock market today:

  • Apple (AAPL, -1.3%) declined despite announcing a number of new products and updates Tuesday. The company unveiled more powerful iPads and thinner iMacs, both using M1 chips; a tile-like item tracker called AirTags, an updated Apple TV+ box and more.
  • International Business Machines (IBM, +3.8%) gained after the company reported its first quarter of revenue growth in more than a year and beat earnings expectations.
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, +2.3%) beat top- and bottom-line estimates; meanwhile, the European Union said that while J&J’s COVID-19 does appear to be linked to blood clot risks, its benefits outweigh those risks.
  • The Russell 2000 dropped 2.0% to 2,188.
  • U.S. crude oil futures dropped 76 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $62.67 per barrel.
  • Gold futures added $7.90, or 0.5% to settle at $1,777.30 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) jumped another 8.2%, following a strong advance Monday, to reach 18.71.
  • Bitcoin prices recovered a little, up 1.0% to $56,650. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
  • Netflix (NFLX) was off by more than 11% in early after-hours trading after a wide miss on first-quarter global subscriber numbers. Specifically, global paid net subscriber additions of 3.98 million were well below the 6.2 million expected. The company did beat revenue and earnings projections.
stock chart for 042021stock chart for 042021

4/20: A Buzzkill for Cannabis Investors

You might not have been aware, but today was a holiday for some: 4/20 is a date widely celebrated by marijuana aficionados … and increasingly, investors.

As it happened, weed stocks admittedly wilted under the spotlight today, despite yesterday’s House passage of a bill that would let banks provide services to the industry in states that have legalized marijuana use. The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS), for instance, declined 3.2%.

However, many marijuana plays are still sitting on strong returns year-to-date, and several drivers still point to big long-term potential.

“With more states considering legalizing cannabis, combined with the future uptick in sales from states such as New York and New Jersey that have recently legalized recreational cannabis, I expect that cannabis sales will continue to experience strong growth,” says Jason Wilson, cannabis and banking expert at ETF Managers Group, the issuer of the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ, -4.5%). “In the longer term, as the cannabis industry continues to mature, I would expect to see the strongest sales growth in derivative products, such as cannabis-infused beverages.”

If you’re feeling “canna-curious,” start out by learning which red flags you should be watching for in this emerging industry.

If you feel you’re ready to go, consider this list of 10 marijuana picks – complete with traditional stocks, but also real estate investment trusts (REITs), special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and even a couple funds for those interested in a more diversified approach.

Kyle Woodley was long BA and MSOS as of this writing.

Source: kiplinger.com

Will a title loan negatively affect your credit score?

When you’re in a position where you need cash fast, title and cash loans can seem like a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, receiving all the money you need in hand is difficult to turn down and you’re sure that you can pay back the balance by your next paycheck. Even with this certainty, you may be wondering: what effect do title loans have on your credit score? Like most financial-related questions, the answer isn’t written in black in white.

What is a Title Loan?

Before we talk about the effect that title loans have on your credit, let’s explore what a title loan is and how it works. Title loans involve using the title of your car as collateral for a loan. So if you fail to pay your loan within the set agreement, you will essentially lose your vehicle.

Financial experts often consider title loans as a poor financing choice because of their high annual percentage rates, but if you know that you will have the cash to pay back the loan before the loan is due, it can be a viable solution in an urgent situation. To avoid losing your vehicle, it’s essential that you make your payments in full and early if possible.

Car Title LoansCar Title Loans

Understanding Secured & Unsecured Loans

Title loans are treated differently than traditional bank loans because they are secured. A secured loan means that you have provided your lender with collateral. In the case that you cannot manage your loan, this provides the creditor protection against their investment. These types of agreements are common with paycheck loans, pawn shop loans, car title loans, and any other loan types that require collateral.

Conversely, unsecured loans do not require any collateral. These types of loans are more traditional and provided by larger banking institutions. Instead, unsecured loans approvals are based solely on creditworthiness and trust. All unsecured loans require a credit check.

How Toes a Title Loan Affect My Credit?

Title loans don’t have a significant effect on your credit. Some title loan lenders don’t even require a credit check before they grant you an approval. This type of financing is often a solution for individuals with low credit who need money fast.

While making payments on time will generally help improve your credit, this isn’t the case with title loans. On the other side of things, occasionally missing a title loan payment will not automatically lower your score either- as long as your loan specialist does not repossess your vehicle.

The only time a lender may report your car title loan to the credit bureaus is under the circumstance of vehicle repossession. Losing your car is not only damaging to your life, but can affect your credit negatively for years.

What are my options if I can’t meet my title loan requirements?

If you find yourself in a hardship where you cannot pay your title loan it may be tempting to walk away – they don’t count against your credit score, right? Besides losing your car, failing to meet your loan agreements can negatively impact your credit and your finances.

The consequences of walking away from your title loan will ultimately depend on your agreement with your lender. In many cases, if you offer up your car for repossession voluntarily, the lender will not report the failed agreement on your credit score. However, many lenders don’t actually want your vehicle. Auctioning off your car may be less profitable than forcing you to make the payments. If this is how your lender prefers to operate, you may find difficulty in getting out of your title loan.

Before you sign any contracts, it’s important to understand the terms of your loan entirely. Your agreement should detail whether or not your lender has the right to refuse your collateral in exchange for payment. While this type of arrangement won’t necessarily affect your credit, failing to understand the terms of your agreement and communicate with your lender could have a negative impact on your finances.

Source: creditabsolute.com

The Best State Capitals to Call Home

Capital idea!

A lot happens in a state’s capital city. It’s where the local government governs, but these centers of activity are usually so much more. Most are cities full of opportunity and infrastructure that make an effort to honor local history and culture.

Highlighting the best state capitals in America

Should you shoot for a capital city when thinking about making a move? Maybe. Especially if you’re interested in local politics or want to live in an area that’s guaranteed to have a lot to do, it’s probably worth taking a look.

There is a lot to consider when selecting the best state capitals where you should live, but we’re making the decision a little easier for you. From economic factors such as cost of living and median income to professional considerations like overall business counts and commuting time, we created a formula that looks at all 50 state capitals in the U.S. and measures in terms of overall livability.

We then scored each city to rank the capitals in every state from 1 to 50. Without further ado, we give you the best state capitals to live in our country.

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The 10 best state capitals in the U.S.

While all of the state capitals are the best in their own way, there are 10 that stand out from the pack. These cities are located all across the country — from the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains to the South and from New England all the way to Hawaii (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love a tropical paradise?).

These state capitals really do have it all, so if you’re considering a move, think about one of these cities that cracked our top 10 list.

They’re truly some of the best state capitals to call home.

10. Honolulu, HI

honolulu hawaii

Long before Hawaii was part of the United States, Honolulu became its capital. In 1850, King Kamehameha III gave the city its status in honor of the previous King, Kamehameha I, who moved his court thereafter conquering Oahu in 1804. However, between the two kings, Russia, Britain and France all occupied the area, each at a different time.

The beauty of Honolulu back then, is still very present today, even among the modern buildings and resorts. That’s thanks to the world-famous Waikiki Beach and Leahi, the 760-foot tuft crater you’re able to climb.

Drawing in the majority of Oahu’s population, this scenic capital city has a business score of 9, which puts it toward the top. Residents also bring in a relatively high median income of $71,247. Top industries in the area include food service, healthcare and retail.

Living in Honolulu will cost you about $1,918 per month for a one-bedroom, which is a nice deal to call this laidback, diverse city home. Where else can you tour Pearl Harbor, walk on an extinct volcano, go surfing and grab an authentic poke meal all in a single day?

9. Des Moines, IA

des moines iowa

When Iowa first became a state, Des Moines wasn’t the capital. That happened 11 years later after over a decade of debate. Originally, the capital was Iowa City, but lawmakers believed the capital belonged in a more central location, which is why in 1857 it moved to Des Moines.

Calling Des Moines home today is a very budget-friendly choice. The city is one of the most affordable in the U.S. Rent averages at about $1,168 per month for a one-bedroom and the overall cost of living here is 12 percent below the national average.

Residents get a lot out of living in Des Moines. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest, it’s the food, the culture and the natural surroundings that draw in people.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails to explore. You’ll also find four colleges and universities within the city limits including Drake University and Grand View University.

Working in Des Moines means having the opportunity to dabble in a variety of industries including insurance, government, manufacturing, trade and healthcare. Just remember, if you’re relocating to the city, don’t pronounce the S’s in Des Moines.

8. Columbus, OH

columbus ohio

Named after that famous explorer, Columbus became the capital of Ohio in 1816. This was the third capital city in the state’s history, but thankfully it stuck. Before that, Ohio’s capitals were Zanesville and Chillicothe.

Today, Columbus is a diverse town with lots of fun waiting around every corner. A highly walkable and bikeable city, it’s easy to get around as you check off all the must-see items on your list. These should include trips to the German Village, the Botanical Gardens and the city’s array of cultural and historical museums. There are also plenty of trails and parkland to explore.

With a highly-developed economy, most locals find jobs in education, insurance, banking, fashion and more. The city ranks first in job growth in the Midwest as well. Seventeen Fortune 1000 companies call Columbus home thanks to the affordability of the city. Living here will cost you $1,201 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

7. Boston, MA

boston massachusetts

With a long history as one of the oldest cities in the country, Boston earned its capital status way back in 1632. This was while Massachusetts was still a colony. Boston would have to wait over 100 years before it became the capital of a state.

History continues to come alive in this city, where you can easily walk from one end to the other in a single day. Along your trip, you can see Paul Revere’s house, tour the graveyard where Sam Adams and Mother Goose lie and revisit the site of the Boston Tea Party. Even the architecture speaks to the history of the city, with beautiful brownstones sitting beside each other on tree-lined streets.

Boston is a busy town with accessible public transportation on top of being easy to walk through. The city’s walk score of 89 puts it at the top of our list. It also means you’ll often see people on foot whether rain or shine. This includes tourists walking through Boston Common, commuters rushing to the office and even children on their way to school.

Although the cost of living here is almost 50 percent higher than the national average, Boston does have the highest median income, $71,834, of our top 10. This comes in handy since rent here is also on the higher side. Expect to pay an average of $3,461 per month to rent a one-bedroom.

5 (tied). Denver, CO

denver colorado

Denver found its way to Colorado’s capital city in 1867, while the state was still a territory. Colorado wouldn’t join the union until 1876, but Denver stuck since it was already where the governor lived and all the important government meetings took place.

The Mile High City has continued to grow and attract more residents since back then. With its proximity to picturesque, snow-capped mountains, and plenty of sunshine, Denver today is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are more than 200 parks within the city limits and 20,000 acres of parkland in the nearby mountains. The city even has its own herd of buffalo.

The largest city in Colorado, Denver serves as a central hub for industry and transportation. Primary businesses include telecommunications and biomedical technology in addition to tourism, mining and construction. It’s also worth mentioning the fast-growing cannabis industry (in the city and the entire state) too.

With plenty of culture and a lot of sports, living in Denver combines natural beauty with plenty of activity. There’s also thriving nightlife and amazing restaurants. To rent a one-bedroom apartment here will set you back about $1,928 per month, on average.

5 (tied). Boise, ID

boise idaho

Location is what made Boise the obvious choice for Idaho’s state capital. Sitting at the crossroads of the Oregon Trail and routes to the Boise Basin and Owyhee mines, it became the capital in 1864. Technically though, it wasn’t the state’s first choice, and the capital moved from Lewiston to Boise after only a year.

Boise is both urban and outdoorsy, with a comfortable cost of living, less than a percentage point below the national average. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here averages out to about $1,340 per month.

Opportunities abound here in technology, manufacturing, food production, energy and outdoor recreation, giving the city a business score of 9, a second-place rank.

Nicknamed The City of Trees, Boise takes a portion of the state’s 4.7 million acres of wilderness for its residents to use. On nice days, you’ll find people out biking, horseback riding, fishing and even skiing. There are plenty of hiking trails, boat docks and more.

Adding to the activities in Boise are the museums, theaters and energetic downtown area. It’s a city with a small-town feel that’s not lacking in any big city amenities.

4. Madison, WI

madison wisconsin

Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the same year Madison got named the capital. The debate over this selection lasted for two days, and even then it wasn’t a unanimous pick. It may seem silly to us now, but locals took their selection seriously. The final vote passed in a close call of 15 to 11.

Locals will tell you Madison is one of the happiest cities in the country — thanks to the weather. Situated between two lakes, Madison enjoys a constant breeze of fresh air. That’ll get you outside quick, but the miles of biking and hiking trails will keep you outdoors. In fact, Madison has the third-highest bike score at 75.

Downtown, you’ll find a centralized hub for both work and play. Primary industries in the city include manufacturing, government and agriculture. Nearly one-sixth of the state’s farms are within the Greater Madison area, and diversified farming is a primary contributor to the local economy. After a long workday, the same area offers up plenty of shopping, culture and restaurants.

Living here mixes the outdoors with urban amenities to fit any agenda. To rent a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll pay an average of $1,223 per month.

3. Cheyenne, WY

cheyenne wyoming

Wyoming set Cheyenne as the state capital in 1869. The city itself got its name from the Cheyenne Indians who lived in the area.

If you’re looking for a city with a solid cost of living and easy commute time, Cheyenne is for you. The cost of living is 8.2 percent below the national average and rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages out at $930 per month.

Getting to work is easy, too. The city has an average commute time of just under 16 minutes, putting it in third place.

Major industries here include light manufacturing, agriculture, military and government and tourism. Sitting in the southeast corner of the state, you’ll find the F.E. Warren Air Force Base here along with plenty of train-centric attractions. After all, Cheyenne is sometimes known as the Railroad Capital of the country.

Many who come to visit imagine a place full of rodeos and cowboys, but really Cheyenne is both a rugged and modern city.

2. Austin, TX

austin texas

A year after Texas’ annexation into the United States, Austin became its capital. Originally, the capital of the state was Houston, but in 1839 it moved to a city named Waterloo. In 1846, that city’s name got changed to Austin in honor of the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin.

There are plenty of good neighborhoods to call home within the modern city of Austin, many of which surround the University of Texas. Between the college, the rivers and the music and bar scene, there’s a lot to bring people to this state capital.

Austin received the highest business score on our list at 9.3. With the nickname, “Silicon Hills,” the city offers up a lot of opportunities in technology and innovation. You’ll find a lot of startups call Austin home as well. Even Apple is getting in on things, creating a campus in this Texas town.

A mild climate, and about 300 days of sunshine per year, make Austin a great place to have fun both inside and out. There’s also plenty of amazing Tex-Mex to chow down on when the craving for tacos hits.

Living here will set you back about $1,417 per month if renting a one-bedroom apartment but luckily it’s also an affordable city with the cost of living just a touch over the national average and a median income of over $71,500.

1. Salt Lake City, UT

salt lake city utah

Earning the distinction of state capital when Utah joined the union in 1896, Salt Lake City has long had a reputation of acceptance. The city itself was a popular choice for the capital because its ideals aligned with the country at the time — growth, expansion and religious freedoms.

Today, you’ll find Salt Lake City an active community with a lot of potential for professional growth. It earns near-top scores in its walkability, bikeability and business opportunity.

With an urban center invigorated by a buzzing tech scene, the downtown area is where you’ll find a lot of the action. From craft beer to theater, amazing dining to culture, Salt Lake City provides eclectic fun.

The outdoor recreation of the area is also worth mentioning. Living in Salt Lake City, you’re not only close to some incredible skiing, but also within reach of five national parks. The city itself also draws residents outdoors with a festive atmosphere you can walk through all year long.

Calling this part of Utah home means plenty to do and even more to see. It’s a perfect combination of natural beauty and urban design. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here means budgeting for about $1,233 on average, per month.

The best state capitals by rank

We’ve given you a taste of what some of our state capitals have to offer, but see how all 50 of them rank. Check out the complete chart below.

Methodology

To find the best state capitals in America, we used the following data points:

  • Median household income reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Cost of living reported by the Council for Community and Economic Research
  • Average commute times reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Walk Score
  • Bike Score
  • Overall business score determined by the number of variety of business listings in a particular city compared to other cities of similar size across the country

We ranked each city from 1 to 50 (with 1 being the best) in each of these six categories. We allowed ties in these rankings. Then, we added up the rankings for each of the six categories to determine a final score for each city. The cities with the lowest overall score were determined to be the best state capitals.

Rent prices are based on a one-year rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments as of April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

How Transferring a Balance Affects Your Credit Score

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

If you’re feeling weighed down by several credit card balances, credit card debt consolidation could provide some serious relief from your financial woes.

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Here’s how credit card consolidation works: You first decide if you want to take out a new loan, open a new credit card, or enroll in a debt management plan (more on that later). Whichever option you choose, you will use it to pay off your multiple balances.

Then you’ll only have one monthly payment: the loan, the credit card, or the debt management plan. Not only does that simplify your debt payments, but it can also help you save money by making you pay only one interest rate, rather than several.

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if you find an error, dispute it.

You can get your free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. And, Credit.com’s free credit report summary can help you understand what’s inside your credit report. It also provides you with a free credit score.

Once you know where your credit stands, you’ll have most of the information you’ll need to help you decide what credit card debt consolidation plan will work best for you.

2. Get to Know Your Options

There are several safe and smart ways to consolidate credit card debt, so you’ll want to research them before deciding what’s best for you. Some strategies will be more affordable than others, and your credit card consolidation choices may be limited by your credit standing.

Debt Consolidation Credit Cards

If you have good credit, look for a credit card with a low-interest rate. You can transfer high-interest rate credit card balances to a single card with a lower APR and save money on monthly finance charges as you pay down your debt.

For consumers with good credit, there are several credit card balance transfer, and low-interest rate credit card offers available. You may even qualify for a card with a 0% rate for 12 or 18 months.

Personal Debt Consolidation Loans

Personal loans charge simple interest (as opposed to credit cards, which often have variable rates and sometimes have different rates for a credit card balance transfer and purchases on the same card) and they typically have a loan repayment term of three to five years. By consolidating your credit card debt into a personal loan, you’ll have a definite plan for paying off your old card debt.

You may be able to consolidate your debt with a personal loan from your bank or credit union. But, before applying, be sure to ask about the lender’s credit requirements. Keep in mind that you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest interest rate on a personal loan.

Be sure to check out any potential online lenders with the Better Business Bureau before applying for a debt consolidation loan online. And you can verify if a lender is registered to do business in your state by contacting your state Attorney General’s office or your state’s Department of Banking or Financial Regulation.

Beware of any lender that promises to offer you a loan regardless of your credit. It’s also a good idea to stay clear of websites and lenders that charge you big upfront fees for a debt consolidation loan.

Debt Management

If you’re making little to no progress repaying or transferring balances or consider yourself to have a severe debt problem, then you may want to reach out to a reputable credit counseling agency or debt consolidation company. They can talk to you about a  debt management plan and other credit resources that may be available to you as a consumer to help pay off your debt.

With a debt management plan, you make one monthly payment to a credit counseling agency, and the agency pays each of your credit card lenders. A lender may lower the interest rate on your credit card balance when you participate in a debt management plan. Debt management plans typically last three to five years.

3. Do the Math

Credit card debt consolidation may save you money, but it’s often not free. Credit cards may have a balance transfer fee, so you’ll want to make sure that cost doesn’t outweigh the potential benefit of getting a lower interest rate on your debt.

Promotional interest rates expire — like 12 months of a 0% APR on a balance transfer card — so make sure you can repay your debt within that time frame. Otherwise you may not be saving any money at all.

The same goes for debt consolidation loans. Ask about any loan origination fees, and make sure the loan payment amount is something that easily fits into your budget. Failing to pay a personal loan as agreed will hurt your credit, so stay on top of your loan payments and work to build up a solid payment history.

No matter what credit card consolidation options you’re considering, be sure to ask about any fees you may have to pay and factor those numbers into your decision.

4. Don’t Forget About Your Credit Scores

Credit card consolidation can affect your credit in many ways, depending on which strategy you choose. For example, if you’re consolidating multiple balances onto one credit card, you’ll want to avoid maxing out that card’s credit limit because that will hurt your credit utilization rate (how much debt you’re carrying compared to your total credit limit).

You also may not want to close your old credit cards, as this can potentially ding your credit scores as well. By keeping your old credit cards open, you will not lower your credit utilization. Your credit utilization counts toward 30% of your credit score, and that’s why it’s important to keep that ratio low — under 30% and, optimally, less than 10% of your credit limits, overall and on individual cards.

Keep in mind a debt management plan may have a negative impact on your credit during the course of the program because your creditors will close or suspend your accounts while in the program, and this can affect your credit utilization.

Therefore, make sure you are ready to live credit card free for a while. (Not every creditor has to participate, so you may be able to keep a credit card out of the debt management plan if you need it to remain open for travel or business purposes, for example.)

Once you complete your plan, some of your creditors may re-establish your credit based on your new, debt-free status and the on-time payment history you established through the course of the debt management plan.

Other ways credit card consolidation can hurt your credit include applying for a new line of credit which will result in a hard inquiry on your credit report, adding a new credit account that can lower the average age of your credit history, and getting a new personal loan. All of these things will show that you have a high level of outstanding debt (your scores should improve as your remaining balance shrinks from where it started).

There are credit score perks, too. Adding a personal loan to your credit history can improve your mix of accounts (it’s good to have a combination of installment and revolving credit, like credit cards).

And if you make your credit card or loan payments as agreed, you’ll establish a positive payment history, which affects your credit scores more than anything else. (Payment history accounts for 35% of traditional credit scoring models.)

5. Commit to the Plan

Transferring credit card balances, paying off credit cards with a personal loan, or enrolling in a debt management plan are only the beginning steps of credit card debt consolidation.

For it to truly help you get out of debt, you have to stick to the plan, whether that’s paying off your credit card balance within a 12-month promotional financing period or making sure you make payments as agreed for the entire five-year loan term.

Throughout the process, you can keep tabs on how your credit card consolidation plan is affecting your credit by reviewing your free annual credit reports and viewing your free credit score on Credit.com

Lucy Lazarony contributed to this article.

Source: credit.com