Our Best Value Tech Holiday Gifts for 2021 (Plus the Best, Period)

Yes, the 2021 edition is arriving a little earlier than usual, but there’s a reason for that. The supply chain disruption, chip shortages, and transportation woes that have been so disruptive over the past year continue. That means popular products may be more difficult to find than usual, and retailers are warning that some may quickly sell out when holiday shopping kicks off.

To put that in perspective, a full year after launch, many gamers are still struggling to get their hands on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X game console.

So this is your head start. The gift guide is divided into two sections. The first is tech gifts that offer great value. They have an excellent combination of performance, features, and quality at a compelling price point. The second section is for tech products that stand out and offer more of a wow factor. They still deliver on value, but they’re higher up the price scale. I have had hands-on experience with virtually all of these products and published reviews for the majority of them, so you can count on each of these being much more than a pretty picture.

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Best Value in Chromebooks: Lenovo Chromebook Duet 10.1-inch 2-in-1

photo of Lenovo Chromebook Duet 10.1-inch 2-in-1photo of Lenovo Chromebook Duet 10.1-inch 2-in-1

Chromebooks were already popular with students, but two school years where remote and hybrid learning have been a frequent reality has made them indispensable for many families.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet has wowed us since its 2020 debut. It’s a 2-in-1 with a detachable display so it can be used as a tablet, which is ideal for running Android apps or reading. Unlike many companies, Lenovo includes the magnetically connecting keyboard in the box. At under $300, you’re not going to find a fire-breathing processor, extra RAM or a lot of storage. In this case it’s a MediaTek Helio P60T 8-core CPU, 4GB or RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage.

However, in a Chromebook, that does the job. When I reviewed the Chromebook Duet, I could easily have a dozen Chrome tabs open without slowdown. It’s equipped with a built-in webcam for video conferencing. I was really impressed by Lenovo’s inclusion of a 1080p IPS touchscreen display (many entry level Chromebooks still have 720p displays), and the 10 hours of battery life I averaged.

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Best Value in Gaming Laptops: Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-55-53E5)

Photo of Acer Nitro 5Photo of Acer Nitro 5

Gaming was already big, but in the pandemic, popularity soared. And then kept growing. Online PC gaming platform Steam just keeps breaking its own record for concurrent users. Gaming laptops have been incredibly popular because they allow PC gaming from wherever you can carve out the space to sit down, and they can do double-duty for school. But to play PC games, you really do need a gaming laptop, though — a standard computer lacks the graphics processing unit (GPU) to be able to handle popular triple-A games. 

You can actually get a pretty capable gaming laptop for well under $1,000. Acer’s Nitro 5 series has been an affordable gaming laptop leader for years. There are dozens of models to choose from, but this year’s crop includes the Nitro 5 (AN515-55-53E5).

For $799, you get a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 GPU capable of real-time ray tracing, a 15.6-inch 1080p display with a 144Hz refresh rate, Wi-Fi 6, and ultra-fast NVMe storage.

RAM and storage are both on the low end but usable (8GB and 256GB respectively), but can be easily and inexpensively upgraded at any time thanks to free slots.

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Best Value in Laptops: Apple M1 MacBook Air

Photo of Apple M1 MacBook Air Photo of Apple M1 MacBook Air

Once again, the M1 MacBook Air tops our list as the best value in laptops. We’re expecting a new version in 2022, but that one is undoubtedly going to go a little more upscale.

The current M1 MacBook Air — released last November — is a powerful performer thanks to Apple’s custom-designed M1 CPU. It features a silent, fanless design, a premium machined aluminum enclosure (in gold, silver or space gray), a very nice 13.3-inch Liquid Retina display, and battery life of up to 18 hours. It runs macOS instead of Windows, but there are macOS or cloud versions of most popular applications including Microsoft Office, so that shouldn’t be a big issue for most users.

With a starting price of $999 ($899 if you qualify for educational pricing), there’s no better value to be found in a laptop.

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Best Value in Smart Speaker: Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)

Photo of Google Nest HubPhoto of Google Nest Hub

The pandemic has made connected digital photo frames popular as a way to create a digital connection with people less comfortable with laptops, tablets or similar equipment. This year’s suggestion is the second-generation Google Nest Hub.

This device is truly a great value. Priced at $99.99, it’s a smart speaker with a built-in 7-inch touchscreen. Use it to play music, stream videos, voice control smart home devices, and take video calls. And when not doing all that, the display can double as a digital photo frame as well, playing a slide show of your favorite snaps from Google Photos.

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Best Value in TVs: TCL 6-Series 4K Roku TV

Photo of tvPhoto of tv

Last year, the TCL 4-Series 4K Roku TV made this list as the best value in TVs, with a $229.99 starting price. This year, TCL is on the list again (the company is on a roll), but with the 6-Series, which has a $949.99 starting price.

Why the big price difference, and should you pay it?

First, sky-high demand for TVs combined with parts shortages and higher shipping costs have pushed prices considerably higher for all TVs this year. The TCL model that went for $229.99 last year is priced at $349.99 this year. That was also a 43-inch TV, where the smallest 6-Series is a 55-inch model ($499.99 for that size in the 4-Series).

The TCL 6-Series is equipped with advanced technology including a quantum dot display and a 120Hz refresh rate. It supports features like Dolby Atmos surround sound and Dolby Vision HDR. It delivers an excellent viewing experience and with its THX certified game mode, it is consistently rated as one of the best TVs for gaming with the new Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X game consoles. It’s a tremendous value in a TV and well worth the higher price tag — which is still well below the competition.

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Best Value in Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Charge 5

Photo of Fitbit Charge 5Photo of Fitbit Charge 5

Smart watches like the Apple Watch continue to gain popularity, but the reality is that many people who buy these are primarily using them for their health and fitness-tracking capabilities, and those you can get for less.

The Fitbit Charge 5 is an attractive-looking fitness tracker, with an aluminum case (in a choice of colors), swappable bands, a vibrant, always-on AMOLED touchscreen display, built-in GPS, and seven-day battery life. It offers a full array of health and fitness tracking capabilities including a heart rate sensor, ECG, oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels, breathing rate, and sleep monitoring.

It can also show notifications from an iPhone or Android smartphone.

If you’re shopping for someone who wants to be on top of all aspects of their health and fitness, the Fitbit Charge 5 is a great value at $100 less than Apple’s entry-level Apple Watch SE.

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Best Value in ANC Wireless Headphones: PuroPro Hybrid ANC Volume Limited Headphones

Photo illustration of PuroPro HeadphonesPhoto illustration of PuroPro Headphones

Wireless headphones are always a popular gift. The latest must-have feature — thanks to the trend working from home trend — is active noise cancellation (ANC). You can spend a lot of money on a pair of over-ear headphones that offer wireless connectivity and ANC, but you don’t need to. These will handle your neighbor’s leaf blower just fine.

In testing, I found the PuroPro Hybrid ANC wireless headphones deliver on the noise cancellation front, with two levels of ANC. They are comfortable and modern-looking, and offer an enjoyable music listening experience with plenty of energy. It’s on a level comparable with more expensive offerings. But there’s a twist. These headphones have a built in volume limiter to prevent hearing damage, making them ideal for those who habitually crank their music to 11. Odds are, they’ll never even notice.

PuroPro headphones fold compactly for carrying and come with a hardshell carrying case. They ship in a unique wooden box instead of cardboard, making for an attractive gift you won’t even need to wrap. 

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Best Value in Wireless Earbuds: 1More ComfoBuds Pro Aura Blue

Photo of 1More ComfoBudsPhoto of 1More ComfoBuds

True wireless earbuds make a great gift, and as with headphones, active noise cancellation is the latest must-have feature. The default when it comes to earbuds are Apple’s incredibly popular AirPods. If you want ANC, that means moving up to the $249 AirPods Pro.

However, at less than half that price, the 1More ComfoBuds Pro Aura Blue wireless earbuds are a much better value.

They are designed to be extremely comfortable (hence the name) and music sounds great thanks to 13.4 mm titanium composite dynamic drivers and custom tuning. You can customize the sound with 22 pre-set EQ settings. Six microphones support voice calls and multiple ANC modes, including pass-through (which basically means amplifying outside sounds so you can hear nearby voices or warning noises like car horns over top of the music). The stems are equipped with customizable touch control. They have a unique and very attractive metallic blue paint job and tiny LED “firefly” indicator lights on the tips. Sweat and rain are no problem with IPX4 water resistance.

ComfoBuds Pro also beat the AirPods Pro when it comes to battery life, with up to six hours per charge with ANC on and eight hours with ANC off.

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Best Value In Kids’ Tablets: Amazon Fire HD Kids Tablets

Photo of Amazon Fire Kids ProPhoto of Amazon Fire Kids Pro

Tablets make great gifts for kids. The devices let them stream their favorite videos, play games, read, listen to music, snap photos, and more. A tablet is entertainment that can be used anywhere, including in the car during road trips.

But: Tablets can be expensive, they’re fragile, and security can be a problem. Apple’s iPad is the go-to tablet, but it starts at $329. The smaller iPad mini that’s a more kid-friendly size costs even more with a $499 starting price.

Amazon has a proven solution for parents. It has a series of Fire tablets made specifically for kids. These include models starting at 7 inches, with features like a protective case, parental controls, a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ content, access to Amazon’s app store, support for video calls, and free replacement for two years if the tablet is broken.

Prices start at $99.99 for the 7-inch Fire 7 Kids Pro and range to $199.99 for the 10-inch Fire HD Pro Kids tablet. Amazon even offers discounts on multiples if you’re shopping for more than one kid. These do tend to sell out frequently, so keep checking back for stock.

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Best Value in Portable Power Banks: Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL With PD

Photo of Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL WPhoto of Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL W

Everyone can use a portable power bank. With so many of our devices being battery-powered, running out of charge is a constant risk. If it’s not your smartphone, it’s a tablet or wireless earbuds. Having a portable power bank handy in a purse, backpack, or glove compartment means you can easily charge these devices on demand and on the move, without clinging to an AC outlet.

I’ve always been a fan of Mophie products. The company has been making battery packs for smartphones and mobile devices for years. They know what works. My current pick among Mophie’s offerings is the Powerstation Wireless XL with PD.

This portable power bank is on the large size for a portable (it’s just over 5 inches long and weighs almost 8 ounces), but it packs a big 10,000mAh battery. That’s enough to charge most smartphones twice. Its top is a Qi wireless charger for convenience, and it has both USB Type-A and USB-C output ports. So you can charge just about anything, and charge multiple devices simultaneously. It’s also covered with fabric for a premium touch.

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Best Portable Gaming System: Nintendo Switch OLED Model

Photo of Nintendo Switch Photo of Nintendo Switch

The first gift idea among the “best of” pack is a new version of the must-have portable game system for the past several years. There are now hundreds of games in the Nintendo Switch library, including best-sellers like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The Nintendo Switch is a mobile gamer’s dream. The new Switch OLED Model adds $50 to the price of the original, but addresses that system’s primary weakness with a vibrant new OLED display. Colors pop like never before and the size increases to 7.0 inches from 6.2 inches. The Switch OLED Model also features an improved stand, better audio, and adds a wired LAN port to its stand for use in docked mode.

Heads up: the Nintendo Switch has proven to be tough to find, especially during the holiday season, so don’t leave this one to the last minute.

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Best All-In-One Music System With Turntable: Andover Audio Spin System

Andover Audio Spin SystemAndover Audio Spin System
  • Our pick: Andover Audio Spin System
  • Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: Components sold individually, ranging from $199 to $599

Andover Audio is an American audio brand led by an engineering team with backgrounds at firms Cambridge SoundWorks, Bose and Harmon. Designing high-end audio gear since 2012, the company has serious audiophile cred. And it’s focused on compact, turntable-based systems. In last year’s gift guide, the Andover Model One all-in-one system was featured. This year, it’s Andover’s Spin system.

This is a modular approach that you can add to. The base configuration is the SpinBase turntable speaker system ($299) plus a SpinDeck ($349) or SpinDeck MAX ($599) turntable. That configuration provides a solid, compact audio system with 270-degree sound, the ability to play your record collection in style, and Bluetooth streaming.

You can add to that base system with the SpinSub subwoofer ($299) and SpinStand system and record stand ($199) for a killer, compact audio system in a black or white finish.

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Best Compact Tablet: Apple iPad Mini

Photo of Apple iPad Mini Photo of Apple iPad Mini
  • Our pick: Apple iPad Mini
  • Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: Starting at $499

Compact tablets make great gifts. A small tablet is easy to slip into a bag for travel and it’s small enough to sit on a nightstand. It provides a bigger display than a smartphone, but it’s not too large. Compact tablets don’t get much better than Apple’s recently-launched 6th generation iPad mini.

Apple went with an all-screen design in this 2021 release, losing the Home button and increasing the screen size to 8.3-inches. It’s equipped with a high resolution Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3 wide color support. The iPad mini is extremely powerful, with Apple’s latest chip — the A15 Bionic — inside. Apple also incorporated high end cameras with a 12MP rear shooter, and a 12MP FaceTime HD camera that supports Center Stage intelligent focus. It’s also great for jotting notes or sketching with the optional Apple Pencil 2.

The latest iPad Mini is perfect for reading, web browsing, streaming video, checking your social media feed, videoconferencing, and even snapping photos. It also packs the power for mobile gaming. It’s available in four colors and starts at $499 with 64GB of storage. Additional storage and 5G connectivity is available at extra cost.

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Best Wireless Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones with ANC

Photo of Sonny HeadphonesPhoto of Sonny Headphones

It should come as no surprise that Sony makes great headphones. When I reviewed the company’s WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones with ANC, I wore them to a water park on a hot summer day and parked myself in a chair just feet from a roller coaster track. With ANC active, there was nothing but silence despite hundreds of screaming kids and a thundering coaster hurtling past. Music sounds fantastic and spatial audio in the 360 Reality Audio format is supported. Battery life is excellent, at up to 38 hours.

Sony managed to top those with the WH-1000XM4 headphones, which scooped a CES 2021 Innovation Award. Voice call performance is improved, and they gain multi-point Bluetooth so they can be connected to two devices simultaneously (useful when working from home). ANC somehow gets even better and they gain DSEE Extreme upscaling, a feature that makes lossy files like MP3s sound better.

While there’s a strong case for Apple’s AirPods Pro headphones in this category, Sony’s WH-1000XM4s simply offer a better value.

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Best Wireless Earbuds: Ultimate Ears UE FITS

Photo of Ultimate EarsPhoto of Ultimate Ears

One of the most important factors in terms of how good earbuds are going to sound is their fit. Without a tight seal, bass in particular drops off, and even the best buds sound tinny. Of course  if they don’t fit properly, they are also unlikely to stay in place. Sometimes all the tips and wings in the world just won’t do it.

Ultimate Ears drove this point home when I tested the company’s UE 18+ CX earbuds. These are custom-molded buds that fit like a glove and sound phenomenal — but they cost as much as a mortgage payment. Fortunately, the company has adapted that custom-molding technology in the consumer UE Fits wireless earbuds.

An app walks you through the fitting process and after less than a minute you have custom-molded wireless earbuds that fit perfectly. They sound great, they’re extremely comfortable, and they stay in place. They’re available in midnight blue, gray, or lilac. What makes a better gift for a music lover than custom-molded earbuds? Especially when they cost a very reasonable $249…

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Best Portable Speaker: Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

Photo of the Hyperboom SpeakersPhoto of the Hyperboom Speakers

Ultimate Ears’ second product in this gift guide is making a repeat appearance after being featured in our 2020 gift guide. The reason why is simple: if you’re looking for a portable wireless speaker, there is nothing else (at a reasonable price point) that can touch the sound the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM puts out.

This is a big speaker (it weighs 13 pounds) and it’s packed with drivers including a pair of 4.5-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters, and two 7.5-inch passive radiators — a setup that delivers thumping bass, wide dynamic range, and 270-degree sound. A built-in adaptive EQ with mic automatically optimizes the audio for whatever environment you’re in and the mobile app lets you customize the audio to your heart’s content with a 5-band EQ.

It’s big and powerful, but also portable. The HYPERBOOM is equipped with an integrated handle, it has an IPX4 water resistance rating, and its battery will keep the music going for up to 24 hours.

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Best TV Soundbar: Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

Photo of Sonos BeamPhoto of Sonos Beam

You can spend a lot on a soundbar these days. Once considered a compromise solution for when someone lacked the space or budget for a full home theater rig, sound bars have evolved into fully featured systems in their own right.

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a top pick for 2021. In its second generation, it adds support for Dolby Atmos 3D audio. It lacks upward-firing drivers, but two arrays are dedicated to reproducing overhead and surround effects. It’s not quite as effective as the Sonos Arc soundbar, which is equipped with actual upward-firing drivers — but that model retails for $899. The Sonos Beam 2 is pretty convincing while saving money that could be put toward a Sonos Sub wireless subwoofer for true movie theatre rumble.

The Sonos mobile app is required to set up the Beam (Gen 2), but you don’t need to be invested in the Sonos ecosystem to use this soundbar. In fact, it supports Wi-Fi music streamed via Apple AirPlay 2. Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is available in matte black or matte white finishes.

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Best Smart Lighting System: Nanoleaf Shapes

Photo of Nanoleaf ShapesPhoto of Nanoleaf Shapes
  • Our pick: Nanoleaf Shapes
  • Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: Kits start at $119.99

I test a lot of smart lighting solutions. Color-changing bulbs and LED strips are fine, but I’ve been a fan of Nanoleaf’s interlocking. wall-mounted smart light panels since the first version was released in 2016. I currently have around 50 Nanoleaf panels on my office walls. Nanoleaf’s Canvas took the best-smart smarting lighting honors in the 2020 gift guide.

Nanoleaf is back again in 2021, but this time with the all-new Nanoleaf Shapes. These new panels — available in hexagons, triangles, and small triangles — finally allow the mixing and matching of different shapes and sizes in a single Nanoleaf setup. This opens up a whole new level of custom designs. They also feature an improved connection system that makes it easier to remove panels.

Everything else that makes Nanoleaf smart panels great (and a great gift) remains. They’re Wi-Fi connected, support all the main smart home standards, they can display millions of colors and scenes, and they can pulse to music in various patterns.

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Best Whole Home Mesh Router System: Netgear Orbi Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System

Photo of Netgear RouterPhoto of Netgear Router

It seems like virtually everything in our homes is connected these days. It’s not just your smartphone, tablet, or PC. Smart TVs, video streamers, smart watches, smart speakers, game consoles, smart thermostats, smart door locks, smart lights, home security systems, and more are all connected. They all rely on the internet and they connect to the internet using your home’s Wi-Fi network.

Too often that Wi-Fi just isn’t up to the task. Connections drop, video streams buffer, games lag, and websites load slowly.

One of the best gifts you can give someone these days is a Wi-Fi upgrade. I’ve been testing a lot of routers over the past two years as Wi-Fi 6 makes its way into the mainstream. From my perspective, the ultimate solution to any home Wi-Fi woes is a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. You get next-gen speed and features, plus whole-home coverage that a traditional router just can’t match. Netgear’s Orbi is the leader of the pack. It may cost more than other whole home mesh router systems, but Orbi is worth it.

The current sweet spot among the company’s offerings is the Orbi Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System. Comprised of a router and one satellite, it supports Wi-Fi 6, offers a maximum throughput of 6Gbps, supports over 100 devices with concurrent connections, and blankets 5000 square feet with seamless, reliable, fast Wi-Fi.

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Best eReader: Kobo Sage

Photo of Kobe Sage eReaderPhoto of Kobe Sage eReader
  • Our pick: Kobo Sage
  • Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $259.99

For someone who reads a lot, an eReader is an excellent gift option. Chances are, even if they own one already, it’s getting long in the tooth. The new generation of eReaders makes models from even a few years ago look primitive in comparison, especially with advances in lighting and screen resolution. If you’re shopping for someone who is already heavily invested in Amazon Kindle eBooks, then the cream of the crop is the latest Kindle Oasis.

However, for anyone else, my suggestion is the Kobo Sage. The latest release from Kobo is the perfect piece of hardware for people who read a lot. Its 8-inch display is the largest in its class, and the E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen is razor-sharp at 300 PPI. Kobo pioneered temperature-changing side-lighting with its ComfortLight PRO system that adjusts the lighting colour temperature and brightness to reduce eyestrain. It is IPX8 water resistant and can survive a dunking in three feet of water. The Sage offers 12 fonts and 50 font styles for complete customization of the reading experience.

Kobo e-readers also include integrated Overdrive support, which makes it easy to borrow eBooks from local libraries.

The Sage includes a number of new features (to Kobo) including upgrades to 802.11ac Wi-Fi and USB-C, Bluetooth connectivity and support for audiobooks, dark mode, plus support for an optional Kobo Stylus for penning notes.

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Best Gaming Laptop: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503QS-BS96Q)

photo of laptopphoto of laptop

Finally, what might be the most popular gift on the 2021 list: the best gaming laptop. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 isn’t the most expensive gaming laptop you can buy. Far from it. But it offers a near-perfect balance. Between cost and performance, weight and battery life, performance and portability. This is the gaming laptop that does it all, and does so without feeling like compromises are being made.

Brace for the letters and numbers (the gamers will appreciate them):

  • The GA503QS-BS96Q version is equipped with AMD’s screaming Ryzen 9 5900HS Processor at 3.1 GHz.
  • There is a 16GB of DDR4 RAM onboard, upgradable to 40GB. 
  • Graphics are taken care of by Nvidia’s mighty GeForce RTX 3080 GPU with 6GB of DDR6 RAM. 
  • Storage is a super fast 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.
  • The six speaker audio system supports Dolby Atmos.
  • The 15.6-inch IPS display has WQHD resolution, a 165Hz refresh rate with FreeSync support, 3ms response time, and the color is Pantone validated. Heat is effectively dissipated by a pair of 84 blade fans and six heat pipes.

All this in a 0.78-inch thick laptop that weighs just 4.1 pounds and can stream video for eight hours on a charge.

Source: kiplinger.com

Dear Penny: Do I Get My Ex’s Lottery Money if We’re Still Legally Married?

Dear Penny,
The other 39 states require that winners’ names become part of the public record, at least in theory. What that means is that even if the state doesn’t display the names of all winners on its lottery website, you should be able to ask the state’s lottery for the names of winners.
Dear Separated,
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
He was on Social Security Disability, which meant the children received money from Social Security. He had to pay child support, which he was behind on for several years. Child support enforcement was very new at that time in my state, so trying to get them to go after him became a nightmare.
But in practice, these records are often ridiculously difficult for the public to obtain. A team of six journalists from the Columbia Journalism Review made 100 public records requests to state lotteries and found that many ignored or declined the requests, redacted information, or claimed the request would result in exorbitant fees. Also, winners can often avoid making their names public by setting up a trust or an anonymous LLC.
Related Posts
Obviously, you can expect a nasty fight if you proceed. But I think it’s worth pursuing if this money exists and your attorney thinks you have a reasonable shot at getting part of it. You deserve to be made financially whole after all these years.
My sons want nothing to do with him and don’t want me to pursue this. I’m torn on whether to proceed or not. 

Ready to stop worrying about money?
It would certainly make for poetic justice if your husband had to split his lottery winnings with you. Unfortunately, though, you shouldn’t assume that you’ll be entitled to your husband’s money — that is, if it actually exists.
As I mentioned we are still married legally, so I know I am entitled to a portion of that money. How would I go about finding out how much he won and if he claimed it himself or had someone else do it?
I left my husband in 1990. We were in a bitter custody battle for two years before I left. I was awarded sole custody. He had visitation rights, which he never used. Long story short, he never saw our children from the time I left him.

-Separated for 30 Years
I should also mention he cut off the family’s health insurance that he was ordered to pay until the youngest child turned 21, which caused me financial strain. At the time, I was paying 0 a month for a family plan in 2004. Child support also ended at that time. He was supposed to pay for insurance for three more years.
Get the Penny Hoarder Daily
You can check your state’s lottery website to see if your estranged husband is listed among the winners. Even if he didn’t accept a giant check at a news conference, his name may be listed in accordance with your state’s open records laws.
Privacy Policy
But it’s also getting easier to keep your name private when you win the jackpot. Eleven states — Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — now allow lottery winners to stay anonymous.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

My attorney at the time had the support order changed so it came directly from his SSD check. For me, it was the end of a nightmare of endless court battles. We never got divorced. There was no reason other than I was mentally drained with him trying to financially ruin me.



The laws for assets acquired after a couple has separated vary by state. Many states treat property one spouse acquires after a permanent separation as belonging solely to them. Talk to an attorney in your state. Your attorney may be able to help you figure out whether your husband actually won. If he did win, your attorney can tell you whether you have a legitimate claim.

Stock Market Today: New Market Records Despite 2 Mega-Cap Misses

The major indexes managed to squeeze out new highs Friday, even though a so-far strong earnings season closed out the week with a thud.

John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet Research Systems, says that 56% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this quarter, and of those, 82% have beaten earnings per share (EPS) expectations. If that figure stands, it would be the fourth-highest figure since FactSet began tracking it in 2008.

However, two lousy mega-cap reports threatened to hamper the market today.

Apple (AAPL, -1.8%) CEO Tim Cook said late Thursday that supply-chain issues likely cost it $6 billion in revenues during its fiscal fourth quarter, causing the company to miss sales expectations, though it did match analysts’ consensus estimates for profits.

Amazon.com (AMZN, -2.2%) also felt the pinch of supply-chain chaos, as well as consumers’ return to brick-and-mortar shopping, reporting Q3 revenues and earnings (as well as Q4 guidance) that widely missed the mark.

“Two consistent themes with both of these stocks are the ongoing impact of supply-chain issues as well as the implication of higher interest rates and increased inflationary concerns,” says David Keller, chief market strategist at StockCharts.com. “The latter could be a significant headwind for growth stocks going into 2022 and suggests that investors should look to sectors like financials that are better suited for that environment.”

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.3% to 35,819), S&P 500 (+0.2% to 4,605) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.3% to 15,498) all wavered between gains and losses throughout the day, but a short burst in the session’s waning minutes sent all three to record-high finishes.

stock chart for 102921stock chart for 102921

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 was marginally lower at 2,297.
  • U.S. crude futures rose 0.9% to finish at $83.57 per barrel.
  • Gold futures fell 1% to settle at $1,783.90 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was off 1.2% to 16.33.
  • Bitcoin managed a 2.0% gain to $62,527.50. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
  • U.S. Steel (X) surged 12.9% in the wake of its quarterly earnings report. In its third quarter, the steelmaker brought in adjusted earnings of $5.36 per share compared to its year-ago loss of $1.06 per share. Revenue, meanwhile, swelled 150% year-over-year to $2.3 billion. Both figures came in above analysts’ consensus estimates. X also raised its quarterly dividend by 25% to 5 cents per share. Argus Research analyst David Coleman maintained his Buy rating after earnings. “We expect the company to benefit over time from recent efforts to strengthen its balance sheet, and note that business fundamentals remain strong,” he says. “U.S. Steel is seeing increased demand and higher pricing for steel as global economic conditions improve.”
  • Starbucks (SBUX) was another post-earnings mover, only its shares fell 6.3% in response to its results. For its fiscal fourth quarter, the coffee chain reported higher-than-expected adjusted earnings of $1.00 per share, but revenue of $8.1 billion fell short of the consensus estimate. SBUX also said same-store sales in China contracted 7% from the year prior. Baird analyst David Tarantino kept his Outperform (Buy) rating on SBUX, but lowered his price target by $16 to $128. While he is “incrementally negative” on Starbucks following last night’s report, “with top line momentum strengthening in the U.S. and China exiting the fiscal fourth quarter, we are optimistic SBUX can produce revenue metrics in upcoming periods that support gradual improvement in investor sentiment as the focus returns to the scarce growth characteristics the company is capable of delivering in F2023 and beyond.”

A Social Gathering

Social media stocks have been front and center over the past week-plus.

On Thursday, we mentioned here that Facebook (FB) was changing its name to Meta as part of a concerted effort by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to pivot his ship toward the “metaverse.”

A few days earlier, PayPal Holdings (PYPL) shot down rumors that it would buy social media platform Pinterest (PINS) with a terse statement on its website claiming “that it is not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time” – since then, PINS shares have lost a quarter of their value.

And late last week, Snapchat parent Snap’s (SNAP) results showed significant turbulence from an Apple privacy update.

Those are a lot of moving parts in what is a very niche but lucrative industry whose components still have at least the potential for spectacular growth. But will they achieve it?

We take a magnifying glass to the most prominent social media players (yes, including the newly renamed “Meta”) to discover which stocks still have a favorable outlook … and which ones are receiving a much cooler reception.

As of this writing, Kyle Woodley was long AMZN.

Source: kiplinger.com

How I discovered the joy of the Sunday paper — thanks to this Amex Platinum credit – The Points Guy

How I discovered the joy of the Sunday paper — thanks to my Amex Platinum credit

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Source: thepointsguy.com

Biotech Investing 101

Biotech can be an exciting and dynamic sector, and biotech investing may offer investors the opportunity to buy companies that are developing cutting-edge technologies to create life-changing medical advances and agricultural innovations.

Like the tech sector, biotechnology is known for having both established companies as well as a number of start-ups at various stages. Because the biotech industry is complex and highly regulated, there are some important things to know before embarking on biotech investing yourself.

What Is a Biotech Stock?

A biotech stock is simply a share in a company that focuses on biotechnology. The biotech industry is geared toward the study and use of biological systems and organisms to make agricultural and medical products.

Biotechnology sounds modern, and it is, but its origins go back to the many ways humans have manipulated biological processes in the domestication of animals, as well as the modifying and breeding of plants and crops, over time. In the last century or so, biotechnology has come to include new sciences like genomics, applied immunology, and more.

The medical branch of the industry focuses on the creation of new pharmaceuticals and treatments for diseases; the agriculture branch uses genetic modification to improve crops as well as livestock (e.g. to make crops pest resistant, to improve animals’ resistance to disease).

A pivotal moment in biotechnology occurred in the early 1970s, during the first DNA cloning experiments at the California labs of researchers Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer. Their experiments demonstrated the potential impact of DNA engineering on medicine, pharmacology, industry, and agriculture.

Since then, modern biotech companies have largely expanded beyond the chemical-focused pharmaceutical and agricultural companies that came before them to embrace genetic engineering, design genetically modified microorganisms and cells, and even create transgenic plants and animals.

Biotech start-ups can be found around the globe, though they are often clustered near sources of venture capital, such as Silicon Valley, or in research hubs, such as North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

What’s the Difference Between Biotech and Pharmaceuticals?

Both biotech and pharmaceutical companies can produce medicines and treatments for disease, so an investor could be forgiven for confusing the two. Yet the industries have some distinct differences. Here’s an overview:

Pharmaceutical Companies

These companies typically research and develop medicines based on artificial or chemical sources. For example, they may take a look at traditional remedies and isolate the active ingredients, turning it into a drug that can be manufactured synthetically.

Or through an act of serendipity, a pharmaceutical company may stumble across a chemical compound that can be used as a medical treatment.

Portions of pharmaceutical companies may also focus on biotech. However as a whole, these companies may not be viewed as strictly biotech companies, because this sector is not their main source of revenue.

Biotech Companies

Biotech companies, on the other hand, focus on biological processes such as DNA sequencing, genetic modification, and draw upon research from the biological sciences (including molecular biology, cell biology, embryology, etc.) to develop new products and systems that can improve pharmaceuticals, crops, and livestock.

Investors may also encounter the term “biopharmaceuticals,”which can refer to the drugs produced by biotech processes. For example, a biotech process known as biosynthesis can produce chemicals — including some medicines — inside cells with the aid of multiple enzymatic reactions.

If it’s used for medicinal purposes, the resulting chemical might be referred to as a biopharmaceutical.

What Drives Biotech Stocks?

As with any sector you might choose to invest in, biotech investing is highly influenced by different catalysts, discrete actions by the company, the industry, or regulators that might shoot the stock price up or down. In the past year, those catalysts have been most visible in the biotech pharmaceutical industry, where drug companies are competing to bring Covid-19 vaccines to market — and FDA approval or CDC commentary can spark price swings.

One example would be what happened in November 2020, when the biotech company Moderna announced that it would file for authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use approval for its Covid-19 vaccine. The stock went up 13 percent just on the news of that application alone, following a month of increases when the company released data showing the vaccine was effective.

These types of industry drivers — data releases from clinical trials and news from regulators — can have an outsize impact on some companies. The news is not always good, however. The shares of biotech pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, for example, fell 9% in March 2021 after clinical trial results for an Alzheimer’s drug were not as robust as expected.

For some biotech companies, the drop-offs can be even more dramatic. In April 2021, Sarpeta Therapeutics shares fell by more than half after so-so trial results for a drug targeting a form of muscular dystrophy.

In early September 2021, Apellis Pharmaceuticals shares fell 43% on news of mixed results for a late-stage clinical trial of their treatment for a disease that causes vision loss.

And in late October, on news that the FDA had approved booster shots of certain Covid-19 vaccines, and that people can get a different booster shot from their original vaccine (widely called mix-and-match), many analysts forecast price increases for some companies, including Pfizer-BioNTech.

In the chart below, are some of the biggest players in this space, based on market cap and an average 3-month trading volume of more than 200,000 shares.

Company Market Cap Avg. 3-month volume
Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) $430.83B 5.85M
Roche Holding AG (RHHBY) $336.74B 1.02M
Novo Nordisk A/S (NOV) $242.79B 1.05M
Pfizer Inc (PFE) $241.51B 32.12.M
Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) $232.15B 2.53M

Source: Yahoo Finance, as of 10/22/21.

What Role Does the FDA Play?

One of the FDA’s responsibilities is to evaluate medical treatments before they hit the market. These evaluations prevent ineffectual treatments and medicines from being brought to market.

When a company develops a new drug, they first test it themselves and then send the result to the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).

The CDER uses a team of scientists, doctors, and pharmacologists to evaluate these results and determine whether the drug’s benefits outweigh its known risks. If they do, then the drug may be approved. If not, the drug company is sent back to the drawing board.

The 4 Main Risks of Biotech Investing

As with any stock, there are risks associated with biotechnology investing, many of which are specific to the industry. Before considering these companies it’s important to understand what some of these risks are.

1. Clinical Failure

Clinical failure is one of the most important risks to understand. All biotech companies that are producing medical products must test them rigorously to assess their safety and how well the drug or treatment actually addresses the condition it targets. There is a possibility that the drug or treatment will not be effective or will prove to be too dangerous for consumption.

The process of testing begins in preclinical trials in which treatments are tested in a lab in test tubes or petri dishes without using human or animal subjects. Other preclinical trials might use animal subjects to test drugs. Many drugs don’t make it out of this phase of testing, so a biotech startup with drugs that are only in preclinical trials may be especially risky since the future success of these drugs is largely unknown.

If a drug passes the preclinical phase, it goes on to phase 1, where the safety of a drug is tested. Then it moves on to phase 2 trials, which test dosage levels and how well the drug works. And finally, phase 3 trials are large clinical trials that test the efficacy and safety of the drug. A very small percentage of drugs make it past this final phase.

2. Regulatory Issues

Even if a drug successfully makes it through its clinical trials, it then must win approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as noted above. A rejection by the FDA typically means the drug will not be brought to market any time soon.

3. Developing the Market

FDA approval isn’t the end of the line, though. Once a drug is FDA-approved, biotech companies still have to convince doctors to use it, and insurers and healthcare programs to pay for it.
The company will also likely need to assemble marketing teams to promote the drug to doctors and consumers. These efforts can be costly and can fail to produce consumer demand.

4. Patent Expiration

Biotech companies can enjoy protection from competitors in the form of a patent for 20 years. But once the patent runs out, competitors can make their own version of the product, which typically drives stock prices down.

Choosing a Biotech Stock

There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating a biotech company, from a company’s financials to the problem it targets to how it’s managed. Before investing in a biotech company, investor may want to research the following:


It may take years for a biotech company to develop a product, license it, and earn back the money it spent developing it. As a result, investors may want to look for companies with a cash reserve of two years or more.

Investors should also investigate where a company is getting its funding and if there’s a possibility to get more. For example, can the company sell more shares to fund its development? The flip side of that process is that selling too many shares may actually be diluting the market.


Developing a biotech product can be expensive. In addition to being able to fund research, development and the marketing of a drug, biotech companies will likely have some debt to pay off. Investors may want to consider companies that aren’t overleveraged with huge loans to pay back to private investors or banks.


Investors may also want to investigate what kind of outside support a company has. Small companies in particular may have a hard time going it alone, but backing from a major corporation can put them on more stable ground.

Better, yet, a company with multiple partners is even more protected, because if one backs out, the company still has support from others and won’t be left floundering on its own.


While investigating a company’s financials, investors may want to do a little digging into who is managing the firm, especially smaller startups. Managers with business acumen who are knowledgeable about startups are important.

But also take into account whether a company has management with scientific credentials such as M.D.s or Ph.D.s who can understand the research and science involved in the company.

Managers with a medical or scientific background may be better equipped to understand the impact research results could have on the business side, and be able make decisions accordingly.

Area of Research

The issues a biotech company is tackling can have a big impact on its success. For example, investors may want to look to medical biotech companies that are targeting common diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

These diseases are prevalent, so if a drug or treatment is approved, there may be a greater chance of that product doing well in the market.

The opposite of targeting companies with products that have a broad appeal is considering niche opportunities. Orphan drugs target extremely rare diseases, for example. Because of the relatively small market for them, many companies can be loath to develop them. Thus, a firm that targets that niche may have less competition.

More Than One Product

It takes many resources to propel a new medical treatment through clinical trials and FDA approvals. It’s not unusual for a biotech company to put a lot of its energy toward the product it thinks is most likely to make it over this hurdle.

However, crossing the finish line is not guaranteed. If a new drug isn’t approved and the company doesn’t have a backup plan, investors may be left hanging. So consider companies that haven’t put all their eggs in one basket, and might have another promising product in the pipeline as well.

Market Readiness

Investors may want to keep a close eye on companies with products that are nearing market readiness. One key sign to watch out for are drugs that are in control group trials.

Phases 1 and 2 of clinical trials don’t require controls, but phase 3, the final phase of trials before the drug heads off for FDA approval, does require controls. That said, controls are an expensive undertaking, and including a control group in one of the first two phases of trials may signal a company’s confidence in their product.

Press Releases

When biotech companies alert the public to new developments there are a couple of things to watch out for. If the company seems to be sending out an inordinate amount of press releases, it may be worth double checking why.

Take a look at Clinicaltrials.gov to see the status of a company’s active trials. If there are a lot of them, those press releases might make sense. If there aren’t so many, then the company might be overstating its current capacity.

Additionally, clinical trials have both primary and secondary endpoints: different goals the company was hoping to meet. A company that touts its secondary endpoints while remaining reticent about its primary endpoints may be masking the fact that it didn’t do so well meeting them.

The Takeaway

Biotech investing is a compelling and complex market segment. Because it’s highly regulated, and individual company performance can be sensitive to industry- and company-specific events (like regulatory changes and approvals) as well as market factors, it’s wise for investors to tread carefully as they become familiar with the dynamics of this market.

Investors who have researched biotech companies and are ready to trade individual stocks can start by opening a SoFi Invest® account. Given the higher price of some biotech stocks, it’s also possible to buy fractional shares. You can also consider trading an ETF with a biotech focus, which can provide more diversification, which can help offer some protection against risk.

Will investing in biotech stocks support your goals? When you become a SoFi Member, you have complimentary access to financial professionals who can help address important questions like this.

If you’re ready to invest, learn more about how SoFi Invest® can help you get started.

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected] Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing. Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.
Advisory services are offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC an SEC-registered Investment adviser. Information about SoFi Wealth’s advisory operations, services, and fees is set forth in SoFi Wealth’s current Form ADV Part 2 (Brochure), a copy of which is available upon request and at adviserinfo.sec.gov .


Source: sofi.com

What credit score is needed for an apartment?

What Credit Score is Needed for Renting an Apartment Title Image

When looking for an apartment to rent, landlords will most likely run a credit check to help get a sense of your financial standing. Landlords do this to help ensure that you’ll pay your bills on time and will be a trustworthy tenant. 

Generally speaking, you need a credit score of 620 or higher to rent an apartment, but different landlords may set their own criteria. Ultimately, the higher your credit score, the better chance you’ll have at getting approved for a lease. Remember, a rental is a source of income for landlords, and they don’t want to jeopardize it with tenants who won’t be able to pay rent on time. 

Read on to find out why credit is important when looking to rent and to get some tips on how you can improve your credit score to ensure you get approved for your next apartment. 

Why credit matters when renting

Your credit matters because it provides landlords with a glimpse of your financial standing to help them determine whether you’d be a trustworthy tenant and be able to pay rent on time. If you’re renting in a competitive market, your credit can help you stand out among other prospective tenants looking to rent the same property. 

As stated above, a credit score of at least 620 is usually needed to rent an apartment, but this number can vary based on the landlord and the market. Those with credit scores lower than 620 may seem risky to prospective landlords. If you’re unsure whether your current credit score meets the criteria needed to rent an apartment, here’s what is considered healthy and unhealthy credit scores according to the FICO credit score range: 

FICO® Score Rating What this means for renters
Less than 580 Poor Renters with scores in this range are considered risky to prospective landlords and may seem more susceptible to delinquencies.
580-669 Fair Renters with scores in this range may have a hard time getting approved for a lease unless their score is above 620.
670-739 Good Renters with these scores are likely to get approved for a lease and are viewed as reliable tenants.
740-799 Very Good Renters with scores in this range appear to be trustworthy and dependable tenants to prospective landlords.
800+ Exceptional Renters with scores above 800 appear to be exceptional tenants to prospective landlords.

In addition to your credit score, landlords will also take a look at your credit report. Even if you have a fair credit score, sometimes certain marks on your credit report can sway a landlord’s decision to accept you as a tenant. 

Credit-related red flags for landlords

Negative marks and red flags on your credit report can indicate a history of mismanaged finances and raise the concern that you may not pay your rent on time. Small marks, such as one late payment on a loan, are less worrisome to landlords, but other marks may seem a little riskier. 

Negative marks can be red flags.

The following items on your credit report could be a red flag for landlords:

  • Repossessions: This shows landlords that you allowed your payments to go unpaid, making you appear to be a risky renter. 
  • Bankruptcy: This shows landlords that you may not have the funds to cover your monthly rent payment given your financial history. 
  • Late payments: This shows landlords that you have had trouble making on-time payments in the past, which raises concern. 
  • Garnishments: This shows landlords that you might not be able to afford rental payments due to a high amount of debt. 

That being said, a credit report doesn’t always tell the whole story. Be prepared to explain the reason behind any negative marks to your prospective landlords. A simple explanation can make a difference in helping them understand the reason as to why there are delinquencies on your report. 

Should a landlord reject your application based on findings in your credit report, they must give you a reason in writing and provide information on how to get a free copy of the report that was viewed. 

Should you have marks on your report that influenced a landlord’s decision to deny your application, you have the right to know what these marks are. If you were unaware of them before, request a free copy of your report and thoroughly look through it to verify the information and make sure there are no discrepancies. 

If you happen to have marks on your report that you were unaware of, you can begin the process of submitting a credit dispute. To do this, you must send a letter to one of the three credit bureaus, contact the data furnisher that provided the information and wait for a response from the credit bureaus. Credit bureaus usually have 30 days to investigate a dispute. 

Can I be denied an apartment for bad credit?

Ultimately it’s up to the landlord to decide whether they want to rent their property to you given your credit score. Some landlords may deny your application and others may be more understanding. The bottom line is that the landlord wants to make sure you’re going to be able to pay your rent on time, which is why they look to your credit report. 

Having a low credit score can make it more challenging to rent, but there are still ways to work around it and prove you’re a good tenant. Getting a cosigner or offering to pay in advance are a couple of ways you may still be able to rent an apartment despite your bad credit score. If there were circumstances that affected your credit, such as a job loss, landlords and property managers may choose to overlook those situations and approve you for a lease. 

Tips to get rental application approved with bad credit

5 ways to improve your credit score before renting an apartment 

If you’re worried that your credit score will prevent you from getting the keys to a new apartment, there are a few steps you can take. Improving your credit score is not a one and done type of situation. It takes time to build it up. 

Here are some easy ways you can fix your credit score quickly: 

1. Check your credit report

Take a thorough look at your credit report. Contrary to popular belief, looking at your credit history won’t lower your credit score, so don’t be afraid to request a credit report. Your credit report may contain errors that could unfairly prevent you from being approved for an apartment. If this is the case, do your due diligence to get these removed from your credit report. 

2. Don’t close old credit cards

Many people think that closing old credit cards is an easy way to improve your credit score, but in fact, the opposite is true. The length of your credit history accounts for 15 percent of your overall credit score, according to FICO. Older lines of credit can help your score. Even if you aren’t using a card, it’s best to keep it open to help ensure your score doesn’t drop.

Keep old credit card accounts open.

3. Pay your bills on time 

Missed or late payments can quickly cause your credit score to drop. On-time payments also account for a portion of your credit score breakdown. To avoid missing payments, consider setting up auto-pay so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay your bills on time every month. If you’re behind on payments, make sure you do what you can to catch up. Doing this will help show you’re a reliable tenant and able to make on-time payments to future landlords. 

4. Pay more than the minimum payment and pay down outstanding balances

Paying more than the minimum payment can help you pay off your debts faster and can improve your credit utilization ratio. If you have multiple lines of credit, try tackling the one with the highest interest rate first. According to FICO, 30 percent of your score is based on the total amount you owe. Your debt amount affects your score because the more you owe, the more it can impact your ability to make payments on time. 

Total amounts owed.

5. Ask for a higher credit limit

If you’re not in the financial position to pay off your debts, you could ask for a credit limit increase. If you’ve had a credit card for a while, have made payments on time and have a low credit utilization, your creditor will likely approve you for an increase. 

While getting a credit increase may seem appealing, you need to be smart about the way you look at it. For example, if you had a $2,000 credit limit and your creditor increases your limit to $4,000, this doubles the amount of credit you have available. You can most benefit from this by making sure not to charge up your card and making sure to avoid spending all of your new credit. 

Though your credit score has an impact on whether landlords will accept you as a tenant, there are certain strategies you can use even if you have a credit score that is lower than the average needed to rent an apartment. If you’re on the market for rentals, your best bet is to focus on improving your credit score and getting it as close to 620 as possible to make the process easier. 

Looking for a rental is an exciting process and ensuring you’re in a strong financial position can make the process easier and help you get the apartment you want.

Reviewed by Anna Grozdanov, Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Anna Grozdanov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, but moved to Arizona with her family. Ms. Grozdanov grew up in Arizona and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in both Philosophy and Psychology. Ms. Grozdanov finished her first year of law school at Pepperdine University School of Law in California, but returned to Arizona where she graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Since graduating from law school, Ms. Grozdanov has worked in Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate, and Personal Injury. She has extensive experience advising and working closely with clients and applies these skills at Lexington by helping clients achieve their credit repair goals. Ms. Grozdanov is licensed to practice law in Arizona. She is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

FNBO Evergreen Business Card With 2% Cashback & Possible $100 Annual Bonus

FNBO has various 2% cards which we’ve written about before. Reader Julian reaches out to let us know about another FNBO option called the Evergreen Business Rewards Visa card. The card has no annual fee and earns 2% back on all purchases.

FNBO does not report their business cards to personal credit bureaus, so some might find this 2% useful.

Even more interesting, the card offers an annual bonus of 10,000 points if you spend $10,000 during the year. That ends up at 3% earning rate on your first $10,000 spend and makes the card a little more interesting than a standard 2% card.

Source: doctorofcredit.com