The Effects Of Bankruptcy On Your Credit Score

Nobody really wants to file for bankruptcy, but sometimes it is the right decision to make. Taking formal steps to show that you are no longer able to pay your debts can help you resolve your immediate financial worries. However, you do have to understand what the impact of those formal steps will be on your credit rating.

“A bankruptcy will always be considered a very negative event by your FICO score. How much of an impact it will have on your score will depend on your entire credit profile.”

It is inevitable that your credit score will decline as a result of the bankruptcy, and it is highly probable that it was already damaged due to the financial situation that made you consider or even file for bankruptcy. That being said, there are three main things that are likely to happen to your credit score, all of which can be fixed with patience and dedication.

1. Your Score Will Drop Significantly

If you file your bankruptcy, you will always end up having “bad credit”. If your FICO score was 700 or higher, which is a good score, it will likely drop by at least 200 points. If it was already not as good, for instance, at 680, it will likely drop by some 150 points. The type of bankruptcy you file for will also have an impact.

“Depending on the kind of bankruptcy you file, Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your credit score will decrease anywhere from 160 to 220 points.”

2. The Damage Is Long Term

Your credit score will be affeccted for a long time by a bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 filing, for instance, stays in place for 10 years. Others, such as a Chapter 13, your included accounts, and discharged liens, judgments, or collection debts, will stay in place for seven years.

3. The Impact Diminishes with Time

The good news is that, as time goes by, the negative effects of a bankruptcy on your credit score will lessen. This goes quite quickly, in fact, because you will no longer owe any money on any discharged debt. This improves your credit utilization rate.

“The credit utilization ratio is the amount of outstanding balances on all credit cards divided by the sum of each card’s limit, and it’s expressed as a percentage. Credit issuers like to see a credit utilization ratio of approximately 35% or less.”

According to FICO, if your credit score was 680 when you filed for bankruptcy, it should be back at 680 within five years, presuming you got your financial behavior in order.

How to Rebuild Your Credit

If you want to rebuild your credit after you have filed for bankruptcy, you will need a great deal of patience to start with. However, you also need to be proactive and take steps to make things better. As such:

– Check your credit file to see whether the bankruptcy has been listed properly. There are numerous ways of checking your credit report for free and you need to take advantage of that to see whether all the debts have been marked as discharged and balanced at zero as agreed.

– Start over. Open a credit builder loan or a secured credit card, which are good starter lines of credit. This will give you the opportunity to show a positive payment history. Make your payments on time and keep the level of debt as low as possible.

– Keep checking your credit file. You should see it start to improve slowly but surely as time goes by and as you prove yourself to be financially stable.

– Check back after 10 (or seven) years to make sure all the elements relating to your bankruptcy have been removed.

Improving And Repairing Your Credit Score

The best thing you can compare credit repair to is weight loss. It takes time, it isn’t easy, and any quick fixes usually backfire. You need to be responsible, make real changes, and have patience. That said, there are a number of things you can and should do for improving and repairing your credit score.

1. Check Your Credit Report

The first thing you have to do is check your credit score, so you know where you stand right now and to check whether there are errors.

“Going without checking your credit score, or checking it every few years, isn’t enough. To have control over your credit and your financial life, you must check your credit score regularly.”

2. Have Payment Reminders

The next thing you have to do is always make any agreed credit payments on time. Hence, set up reminders on your phone or in your diary to make sure the money is in your account, and have those bills come out automatically. Do, also, make extra payments whenever you can because that looks really good.

3. Reduce Your Debt

Reducing your debt may sound hard, but it can be done. If you set those payment reminders and notice you have as much as a dollar more than you thought in your account, put that dollar straight towards any outstanding debt. Every little helps.

Other Important Tips

One of the things that really drops your FICO score is missed payments, although the exact impact will depend on your current score.

“The degree to which a late payment may affect your credit score can depend on multiple factors. When it comes to your FICO credit score, for example, a late payment will be evaluated based on how severe it is, how recent it is, and how frequently you’ve paid late.”

So, if you have missed any payments, make them straightaway. Do also make sure you’re not late on payments. The longer you wait, the more your score will be affected.

You also need to avoid your account going into collection as much as possible. This is because, even if you pay it off, it will still be on your credit report. Naturally, it will show up as being paid, but the mark would be there nevertheless. In fact, it will stay there for seven years. If you have legitimate difficulties, you need to contact your creditors about that as soon as possible. They don’t want you to have bad credit, they simply want to get their money back. And they know that, the worse your credit score gets, the harder it will be for you to pay for things.

Patience is also absolutely vital. The reality is that, once you have bad credit, you are likely to have it for at least five years.

“If you make a mistake or run into financial obstacles that result in negative items on your credit report, those derogatory marks will remain there for years. The good news is they will carry less weight in credit scoring formulas as they get older.”

Repairing Tips

Once you have bad credit, there are many things that you can do to start improving it as quickly as possible. These include:

– Keeping your balance on your lines of credit as low as possible

– Paying your debt off. Don’t move it to somewhere else.

– Getting rid of your credit car debt.

– Keeping your unused credit cards open, but keeping the balance as low as possible.

– Not applying for new credit cards in the hope of improving your credit

– Not opening multiple accounts very quickly, as this makes you look like a risk

New Credit

Another issue that people face is that while they don’t have bad credit, they simply have no credit. The result is that lenders don’t want to work with them, because there is no history for them to check. Not having a credit history can be very damaging.

“If you fall in the no-credit category, you haven’t necessarily made any financial mistakes. In this case, a good way to start building that history is to acquire a credit card for people with no credit.”

How A Pet Can Improve Your Quality Of Life

Coming home to a dog wagging his tail or a purring cat at the end of the day is wonderful, and that is not just psychosomatic. Indeed, a lot of research exist to prove that having a pet can improve your quality of life. This happens in a number of different ways.

1. A Pet Can Lower Your Cholesterol

Some evidence suggests that having a dog can lower your cholesterol, which means they protect your heart.

“There is some evidence that owning a dog is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A large study focusing on this question found that dog owners had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-owners, and that these differences weren’t explainable by diet, smoking, or body mass index (BMI).”

2. A Pet Can Offer Stress-Relief

Having a pet, regardless of what type of pet, can help calm you down. This is because it makes us release oxytocin, a powerful “happy” neurochemical. Additionally, it lowers cortisol levels as well. Any pet, from a cat to a fish can have this effect.

“Also relaxing are the colors of both the fish and background inside the tank. Studies show that it can reduce blood pressure and emotional agitation. That is why they are displayed in such diverse places as dentist offices to nursing homes, restaurants and doctor offices.”

3. A Pet Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

When you stroke your cat or your dog, you make it happy. At the same time, this act lowers your blood pressure. In fact, a recent study showed that it helps increase the effectiveness of blood pressure medication.

“She found that in 24 participants selected at random to add a dog or cat to their treatment regimen, these cardiovascular measures remained significantly more stable during stressful situations than in 24 participants in the non-pet-owner group, who served as controls.”

4. Increased Fitness

This is the one that most people are aware of: if you have a dog, you become more physically fit because you have to take it for a walk. Studies have shown that dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes a week, compared to 168 minutes for non-dog owners, and that they meet recommended physical activity levels in 54% more cases.

5. Better Heart Health

Because of the increased activity levels and lowering of cholesterol levels, your heart health will improve as well. The American Heart Association has further confirmed this. They also showed that having a pet increases heart attack survival rates.

6. Allergy Prevention

It has been shown that owning a furry animal in particular can help to prevent allergies in children.

“Exposure to “dog dust,” or the dried flakes of skin that fall from Fido, may protect against developing allergies and asthma in later life by altering intestinal bacteria, a new study in mice suggests.”

7. Depression Relief

Next, having a pet can help relieve depression. It is believed that this is due to the companionship, and due to the fact that animals love unconditionally and don’t find fault with their owners. It also makes people feel more confident, which further fights their depression.

8. Chronic Pain Relief

Last but not least, owning a pet can help provide chronic pain relief in their owners.

“You cannot underestimate the power of pets when one is in pain. A pet comforts you and at the same time takes you out of yourself as you care for them.”

There are other benefits as well. For instance, having a pet brings the entire family together and makes it complete. But above all else, a pet provides you with happiness and enjoyment and ensures that you have something to look after that equally looks after you and makes you healthier.

Solar Power For Homes And How To Use Solar Panels

If you want to use solar power for your home, there are a number of steps that you should follow first. It is generally best to ask for professional assistance from the start, although there are also numerous things that you can do yourself. Also, none of these steps are overly complicated so they shouldn’t stand in the way of you going green.

STEP 1 – What Is Your Home’s Current Energy Efficiency?

First of all, you need to make sure that you know what is your energy efficiency, and whether there are any upgrades you could make to your existing setup. An online home energy audit is a good starting point.

“A home energy checkup helps owners determine where their house is losing energy and money – and how such problems can be corrected to make the home more energy efficient.”

STEP 2 – Assess Your Potential for Solar Power

Next, you need to make find out how much energy you can produce in your area. You must work out how much of the sun’s energy can reach your solar panels, which in turn depends on the size of your solar panel array. Luckily, there are good online mapping services that can help you determine whether your area is suitable for solar power. They may also give you alternatives should you find that solar power is not right for you. Some things that could make you unsuitable for solar power include:

– Nearby shade trees

– An old roof that will require replacement soon

– HOA/NA (homeowner association/neighborhood association) restrictions

STEP 3 – Determine Your Solar Options

Once upon a time, if you wanted to go solar, you would have to purchase the whole system yourself and hold responsibility for its upkeep. You can still do this today, but you have other options as well, including:

– Shared or community solar

– Power purchase agreements (PPA)

– Solar leases

– Solarize programs

STEP 4 – Determine Your Needs for Solar Electricity

This is where you start to think about the type and size of system you will need. To do this, you need to understand your energy usage. Hence:

– Look at your energy bills for each month to see how much you spend.
– Consider whether you are planning changes (buying an electric vehicle, having a more energy efficient boiler).

STEP 5 – Get Quotes and Site Assessments

The exciting stuff start at this point, as you will have to get quotes from providers. You must make sure that they are all certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

“NABCEP offers credentials for skilled professionals, specialists and those new to working in the areas of photovoltaics, solar heating and small wind technologies.”

Various online tools also exist to allow you to compare the market. Make sure that you receive at least three quotations from different providers. Some questions to ask include:

– Whether they know the local interconnection and permitting processes

– Whether they have references from local clients

– Whether they are properly certified and licensed

– What kind of warranty they offer on their system

– Whether they have active or pending liens or judgments against them

Once you receive your quotation, it should clearly state:

– The maximum capacity of the system in Watts (W) or kilowatts (kW)

– An estimate of how much energy will be produced (monthly or yearly)

– The total cost of installation, including warranty, sales tax, permitting, grid connection, installation, and hardware

– A cost/W and an approximate cost/kWh for the system

STEP 6 – Look into Finance and Incentives

There are lots of benefits, tax credits, and other incentives to have solar panels installed. Check which ones apply to you through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

“DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Permanently Installed Power Generation Systems For Homes

Having permanently installed power generation systems for homes gives you convenience, security, comfort, and backup power. Your home is automatically protected from a power outage, sitting outside like air conditioning units. They generally run on either natural gas or liquid propane (LP).

“Now more than ever home owners have a wide range of fuel options for heating their home. But, how do you know which is the best for your specific needs and budget? There really is no right or wrong answer as each home is unique. A fuel that may be right for you and your family may not be the best choice for another family.”

How Do Permanently Installed Power Generation Systems Work?

With advances in modern technology, there is no longer any need for you to manually start and stop your generator. That is now fully automatic. One of the greatest benefits from this system is that, should the power go out when you are away, your generator will automatically kick in. Additionally, because the generator runs on LP or natural gas, you can hook it up to your existing gas supply, if one is available. This, in turn, means that you never have to refuel them.

Power is directed directly to your property. This means you don’t have to worry about the extension cords that have to go through your doors or window. Rather, it connects directly to your electrical panel in a breaker space.

“Generally you will need to move a breaker or two down. Most boxes will have enough spare wire to move things around a bit. If you do not have enough room and your breaker is 30 amps or less you can use a short piece of insulated wire and a wire nut.”

Choosing a Generator

Perhaps the greatest difficulty you will have is choosing the make and model of the generator that is right for you. It all depends on your personal needs, what kind of utilities are near you, how often you have power outages, and so on. The recommendation is to only purchase a generator from a known and trusted brand that offers excellent customer support. Of particular importance is that this customer support should available 24/7. That is because a power outage does not happen only during regular business hours.

Key Things to Know

A couple of things to be aware of before you choose permanently installed power generation systems for homes:

1. These generators require a considerable investment. Choose wisely.

2. Understand your own particular needs, but mainly how much wattage you need in order to power your home in an outage. Good manufacturers can come out to assess your home. Online calculators are also available.
3. You need to make sure that you have everything ready for the installation of your generator, particularly if you choose a model that is too big for a DIY job. Your installer will have told you about the preparations that are needed and will also train you on how to use the device.

4. Don’t be blinded by cost alone. While we live in a society where everybody wants to get everything as cheaply as possible, you need to put quality over price when it comes to a generator. After all, you don’t want to spend money, only to then find that the generator doesn’t work. Expect to pay around $2,000 for your generator, without installation costs.

5. Check your local building codes to make sure you are allowed to install such a system.

The above are a few things to consider before you proceed with the installation, as you can see.