​The financial missteps that could doom your love life

by Shelton on February 29th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

A secure financial footing has benefits far beyond staying out debt: it can also strengthen your love life.

Researchers are increasingly finding a link between a persons financial health and their relationships, with stronger finances linked to a better romantic outcome. Americans with higher credit scores are 14 percent more likely to find a partner within the next year than those with scores about 100 points lower, the Federal Reserve found last year.

Starting with the first date, people are seeking financial clues about each other, such as their professions or whether they graduated from college, which can be an indicator of income. As relationships progress, that can develop into increasingly frank discussions about debt, student loans and financial goals. Rather than indicating a shallow focus on money, these discussions can uncover important indicators about a persons values and goals.

Its not the credit scores in themselves that matter, but its a signal of how they view money, and how they view money as a tool to do other things, said Sean McQuay, credit cards expert at financial site NerdWallet. Its important as you date them that you are trying to learn about them, and exploring what their financial situation looks like, not to judge but to see if you are compatible.

First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide To Making A Downpayment

by Shelton on February 29th, 2016

filed under Below Average Credit

First-Time Home Buyers Guide: Making A Downpayment

Buying Your First Home: The Down Payment

First-time home buyers face a few hurdles as compared to other types of buyers.

A first-time home buyer may less money saved for a downpayment; may have a collection of  student loans and other large debt; may be just starting a career; and may have less experience with the home-buying process.

A first-time home buyer may even be about to live on their own for the very first time.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, first-time home buyers account for 1-in-3 homes sold nationwide. This is the lowest rate in close to 30 years.

Yet, with mortgage rates low and an abundance of low- and no-downpayment mortgages available from mortgage lenders, theres never been a simpler time to get approved for your very first home loan.

This post discusses down payments; and, is the first of a four-part series meant to help first-time home buyers buy their first home and get approved for their first mortgage.

Click to see todays rates (Feb 28th, 2016)
What Does It Mean To Make A Downpayment?

When you buy a home, you have the option of paying for it with cash from your bank account; or, with money youve borrowed from a bank.

Sometimes, a bank will lend you the entire amount you need to buy a home. This is known as 100% financing.

However, you may not want to borrow 100% of a homes purchase price, or the bank may not allow it. The monies you pay from your own bank account is known as your downpayment.

As an illustration, if you purchased a home for $100,000 and wanted to make a ten percent downpayment, at closing, the bank would have $90,000 for you while the remaining $10,000 would be sourced from your savings.

As a home buyer, the size of your downpayment is up to you.

You can make a downpayment of twenty percent or more, or you can skip the downpayment altogether. Each choice has its benefits.

For example, when you make a large downpayment, you borrow less money from your lender which reduces your monthly mortgage payment.

You may also get access to lower mortgage rates.

When you make a small downpayment, you get the benefit keeping cash in your savings account for lifes emergencies. It also means that you can buy a home today instead of waiting 8 years to save for a downpayment.

Click to see todays rates (Feb 28th, 2016)
How Much Downpayment Is Required To Buy A Home?

As a first-time home buyer, you have access to a wide range of mortgage loans and mortgage loans can be customized to meet a buyers needs.

The size of your downpayment is one such customization.

Your downpayment can be as large as you wish, or as small — so long as you make the minimum downpayment required by your lender.

The five most-common low- and no-downpayment mortgages used by first-time home buyers are the FHA loan, the VA loan, the USDA loan, the Conventional 97, and the HomeReady(TM) mortgage.

Each is described below.

The FHA Loan

FHA loans require a downpayment of 3.5% of a homes purchase price, at minimum.

FHA loans are common among first-time home buyers because the program allows for below-average credit scores and there are no special qualifications.

FHA mortgage approval standards are considered to be the most-friendly toward first-time buyers.

The VA Loan

VA loans are available to members of the US military and veterans of the Armed Services.

VA loans provide a 100% financing option, and VA mortgage rates are often the lowest as compared to other low- and no-downpayment mortgage loans.

The USDA Loan

USDA loans also allow for 100% financing. The program is available for homes in rural areas and less-dense suburban neighborhoods nationwide.

USDA mortgage rates are often as low as VA mortgage rates.

The Conventional 97

The Conventional 97 is a 3% downpayment program available to home buyers with above-average credit scores. The Conventional 97 loan allows buyers to receive cash gifts for their downpayment.

The program has a loan size limit of $417,000.

The HomeReady(TM) Mortgage

The HomeReady(TM) mortgage is another 3% downpayment program. The program is geared at multi-generational households, but all home buyers are welcome to apply.

Home buyers using HomeReady(TM) get access to discounted mortgage rates and can use the income of boarders and other household residents to help get mortgage-qualified.

Click to see todays rates (Feb 28th, 2016)
Downpayment Assistance Programs Can Help, Too

First-time home buyers often cite making a downpayment as a primary obstacle to homeownership.

However, in addition to an abundance of low- and no-downpayment mortgages, first-time buyers have access to downpayment assistance programs (DPAs) — many of which grant money instead of requiring repayment.

And the programs are widely-available, too.

According to a study from housing data company RealtyTrac, there are 78 million single-family homes in the United States, including condominiums. 68 million — or 87% — of these homes potentially qualify for downpayment assistance.

As a first-time buyer, therefore, you can use downpayment assistance programs to help reduce your cash required at closing; and, to reduce your monthly mortgage payment.

Strangely, less than ten percent of home buyers even apply for downpayment assistance.

Home buyers often dont apply for such programs because theyre unaware that the downpayment assistance programs exist, they dont believe theyll qualify, or they plain dont know where to get access.

To find out for which assistance programs you may be eligible, talk to your mortgage lender. Most banks have applications on-hand for downpayment assistance programs, or can point you to a website.

The average downpayment assistance amounts to $11,565.

What Are Todays Mortgage Rates?

With mortgage rates low and US rents rising, its an excellent time to consider homeownership. And, as a first-time buyer, you have lots of options.

Get todays live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.

Click to see todays rates (Feb 28th, 2016)

More Americans With Bad Credit Are Getting Car Loans Now

by Shelton on February 28th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

Americans owed more than $987 billion in outstanding auto loans in the last quarter of 2015, according to the latest report from Experian Automotive. Its the highest amount of outstanding auto loan debt since the company first started publicly reporting the data in 2006.

Auto loans as a whole grew 11.5% from 2014 to 2015, and so did loans to subprime and deep subprime borrowers (ie buyers with bad credit scores). In the fourth quarter of 2014, subprime and deep subprime auto loans made up 20.3% of all open auto loans, increasing year over year to 20.8% in 2015. That could be a good sign for people with low credit scores who need a vehicle. Getting a car loan with bad credit limits some of your options, but its still important to shop around for the best terms. Many common credit scoring models will allow consumers to apply for multiple auto loans within two weeks and count them as a single hard inquiry, to encourage people to search for the best deal.

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It helps to start the process by getting an idea of where your credit stands. The better your credit scores, the more likely you are to get approved and receive favorable loan terms. An auto loan can even help you improve your credit, as long as you consistently make your car payments on time.

[W]hile loan balances continue to rise and funding may be more easily attainable, it is critically important for consumers to stay on top of their monthly payments to keep the automotive market running on all cylinders, said Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive finance for Experian, in a news release on the data.

While 30-day delinquencies were down in the final quarter of 2015 from the same time in 2014 (from 2.62% to 2.57% of all loans 30 days past due), 60-day delinquencies were up slightly, from 0.72% to 0.77%. Remember that your payment history has the greatest impact on your credit score, and you can see how your auto loan affects your credit by viewing two of your free credit scores every month on Credit.com.

More on Cars:

  • Are There Car Loans for People With Bad Credit?
  • What to Do If You Can’t Make Your Car Payments
  • Top 5 Worst Car Buying Mistakes

Image: Stockbyte

Couples And Credit Scores: Is It A Match?

by Shelton on February 28th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

So, as Valentines Day approaches, I thought Id give my readers love lives a potential boost by talking about the best way to boost their credit scores. Because if theres one thing that can dampen the romance in a relationship, its not being able to get that loan or that mortgage or even that perfect job due to lousy credit.

Five Steps to Better Credit

Moody’s Assigns Aa3 to Pendleton County, KY $6.7M Public Prop. Corp. First Mortgage Revenue Refunding Bonds

by Shelton on February 27th, 2016

filed under Below Average Credit

New York, February 03, 2016 — Issue: First Mortgage Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2016 (Court Facilities Project); Rating: Aa3; Sale Amount: $6,675,000; Expected Sale Date: 2/4/2016; Rating Description: Lease Rental: Appropriation

Summary Rating Rationale

Moodys Investors Service has assigned a Aa3 rating to $6.7 million Pendleton County, Kentucky Public Properties Corporations First Mortgage Revenue Refunding Bonds Series 2016 (Court Facilities Project). The bonds are expected to price on or around February 4. The outlook is stable.

The rating is based on the credit quality of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (issuer rating of Aa2, stable), the subject-to-appropriation nature of the payments supporting the bonds, and the commonwealths significant reliance on appropriation-backed financings to fund capital investments. The rating also reflects Kentuckys record of proactive financial control and an economy that has benefitted from auto sector recovery. Low per-capita income levels, above-average state debt and large unfunded pension liabilities contribute to a below-average credit profile compared to most other states.

Rating Outlook

Kentuckys outlook is stable based on the expectation it will continue to manage its finances responsibly and work to improve the financing of teacher pensions, against a background of continued below-average state economic growth.

Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade

Sustained economic and revenue growth, with structural balance in state finances and limited reliance on non-recurring resources

Build-up and maintenance of reserves

Significant reduction in adjusted net pension liabilities (ANPL)

Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade

Sustained economic slowing, resulting in weaker revenue performance that strains commonwealth finances

Depletion of reserves with no replenishment, or indications of strained liquidity

Continued trend of negative GAAP basis ending balances, or continued reliance on non-recurring resources, particularly use of additional deficit financing, to balance the commonwealths budget

Failure to address large net pension liabilities

Legal Security

PAYMENTS FOR DEBT SERVICE PROVIDED UNDER BIENNIALLY RENEWABLE LEASE

The bonds are payable solely from lease rental payments from the commonwealths Administrative Office of the Courts under a lease agreement, as supplemented, with the corporation. Per the lease, AOC is obligated to make rental payments, including payment of a Use Allowance equal to debt service and an Operating Costs Allowance payment to cover operating costs.

AOC is obligated to make semi-annual rental payments of the Use Allowance directly to the trustee two business days prior to the debt service payment due dates. The Operating Costs Allowance payment is made to the county. Rental payments are made pursuant to the terms of the lease agreement, which is automatically renewable for successive biennial periods unless terminated in writing by AOC.

AOC covenants in the lease to seek sufficient legislative appropriations to make rental payments for each biennial period. The General Assembly has no obligation to make appropriations for rental payments, and AOC has no obligation to renew the lease. Under the Mortgage Deed of Trust, a foreclosable first mortgage lien on the project has been granted to the trustee. In addition, the interests of the corporation in the lease (excluding the Operating Costs Allowance) have been assigned to the trustee. In the event of a default on the bonds, the trustee may sell or re-let the facility to benefit bondholders. The lease may be amended to reduce AOCs use of the facility and, correspondingly, reduce its required rental payments. Any such amendment, however, would be contingent on the countys assumption of the reduced portion and confirmation by Moodys that the outstanding rating on the bonds would not be withdrawn or downgraded as a result of the amendment.

LEASE PERMITS ABATEMENT, RENTAL CREDITS

Should the project be destroyed or damaged such that it is rendered unusable by AOC, rental payments may be abated until AOC regains use of the project. As protection against such an event, rental interruption insurance sufficient to cover twenty-four months of debt service is required per the lease. In addition, the lease provides for an assessment of whether or not the project could be sufficiently renovated in twenty-four months. If the project cannot be repaired within twenty-four months of the date of damage to the point that it is sufficiently of use to AOC that AOC will make rental payments, insurance proceeds will be used to discharge the bonds. Per the lease, casualty insurance is provided at full replacement value of the project. Certain rental credits are permitted if AOC incurs operating costs in performing maintenance or other functions that are the obligation of the county under the lease. These credits, however, may only be taken against the Operating Costs Allowance, which AOC pays to the county for operating costs.

Use of Proceeds

The bonds are being issued to advance refund the Pendleton County, Kentucky Public Properties Corporation outstanding First Mortgage Revenue Bonds (Court Facilities Project), Series 2008. The refunding plan is being undertaken to provide interest cost savings to the county and the AOC.

Obligor Profile

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a population of 4.4 million people and a gross state product of $150 billion. It has a large and diverse economy, but relatively low wealth levels.

The commonwealth has a four-tiered court system called the Court of Justice that includes the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, circuit courts and district courts. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) serves as the staff for the Court of Justice, administered by the Commonwealths Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. AOCs duties include, among other things, providing offices and court space for the entire court system and dispersing and maintaining supplies and equipment. The Court of Justice is funded through appropriations from

Kentuckys General Assembly and represents approximately 3% of the total General Fund.

Pendleton County, Kentucky Public Properties Corporation is a nonprofit, non-stock public and governmental corporation organized and existing under the law of the Commonwealth. The corporations principal purpose is to act as an agency and instrumentality of the county in the planning, promotion, development, financing and acquisition by the corporation for and on behalf of the county of public improvements and public projects for the county.

Methodology

The principal methodology used in this rating was The Fundamentals of Credit Analysis for Lease-Backed Municipal Obligations published in December 2011. Please see the Ratings Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Regulatory Disclosures

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moodys rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support providers credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to
the lead rating analyst and to the Moodys legal entity that has issued
the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com
for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Anne Cosgrove
Lead Analyst
State Ratings
Moodys Investors Service, Inc.
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York 10007
US
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Emily Raimes
Additional Contact
State Ratings
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moodys Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
USA
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moodys Assigns Aa3 to Pendleton County, KY $6.7M Public Prop. Corp. First Mortgage Revenue Refunding Bonds

Hispanics Ready to Get Serious about Their Credit Scores

by Shelton on February 27th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

WILMINGTON, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–While Hispanic Americans are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their
credit scores than Americans overall (37 percent vs. 32 percent), the
Chase Slate 2016 Credit Outlook also finds that Hispanics are expressing
a greater desire to improve their credit score over the next year (72
percent), as compared to Americans overall (66 percent). Seventy percent
of Hispanics believe a higher credit score would lead to greater
happiness and opportunities compared to just 59 percent of Americans
overall. And the survey suggests that they believe they’re on the right
path, with 44 percent of Hispanics saying the choices they are making
today will definitely help their credit worthiness in the future,
compared to 39 percent of Americans.

Key Findings:

  • Hispanics scrutinize their personal finances more than other
    consumers. A majority of Hispanics negatively rate their personal
    financial situation (55 percent fair/poor vs. 45 percent
    good/excellent) – a contrast to Americans overall who are more likely
    to express a positive sentiment than negative (54 percent
    good/excellent vs. 46 percent fair/poor). In addition, just 10 percent
    of Hispanics rate their personal financial situation “excellent,”
    compared to 17 percent of Americans overall.
  • Ambivalence, fear lead many Hispanics to not check their credit
    score. Just over half of Hispanics (54 percent) have checked their
    credit score in the last year, compared to 60 percent of Americans
    nationally. Additionally, one-in-five Hispanics (20 percent) has never
    checked their credit score – six points higher than all Americans (14
    percent). Among Hispanics who did not check their credit score in the
    last year, when asked why, 40 percent said it’s because they had no
    reason to, 35 percent indicated that they meant to, but didn’t get
    around to it, while nearly one-third (29 percent) said it’s because
    they were afraid it would be a low number.
  • Hispanics recognize the value of checking their credit score (or
    their spouse’s). Although Hispanics appear less engaged with their
    credit history than Americans overall, they are more likely to believe
    they would have benefited from checking their score at certain
    instances in their life (60 percent vs. 53 percent), particularly
    before applying for a loan (57 percent among Hispanics) and before
    trying to buy a house (49 percent among Hispanics). Also, one-in-five
    of those Hispanics who have a spouse or partner (20 percent) indicate
    that they would have benefited from knowing their spouse’s or
    partner’s credit score before getting married.
  • Hispanic Millennials are even more determined to improve their
    credit scores. Although Hispanic Millennials are more positive
    about their personal financial situation than all Hispanics (50
    percent of Hispanic Millennials rate it Good/Excellent vs. 45 percent
    of all Hispanics), they are more likely to want to improve their
    credit score in 2016 (78 percent of Hispanic Millennials vs. 72
    percent of all Hispanics). Big factors in spurring the desire of
    Hispanic Millennials to improve their credit score are their interest
    in buying a house in the near future (63 percent of Hispanic
    Millennials vs. 50 percent of all Hispanics) and starting a family (26
    percent of Hispanic Millennials vs. 16 percent of all Hispanics).
  • Hispanics plan to take an ‘all bills, no-frills’ approach to
    improving their credit scores. The most popular plans among
    Hispanic consumers to improve credit scores include paying bills on
    time (65 percent), paying off debt (60 percent) and keeping credit
    card balances relatively low (41 percent).

Quotes:

“The optimism that Hispanics are feeling about improving their credit
score in 2016 reflects the passion and commitment to do better for
themselves and their families,” says personal finance expert and Chase
Slate financial education partner Farnoosh Torabi. “My advice to all is
don’t be afraid of knowing your credit score and understanding the
factors that impact it. Contrary to popular belief, checking your credit
score yourself does not negatively impact the score. This is the first
and most important step to start making improvements and to stay on top
of your credit health.”

“I am encouraged to see that so many Americans are motivated to improve
their credit score this year, chiefly because healthy credit can open
doors in the short-term, long-term and throughout one’s lifetime,
really. With more men and women on the path to achieving their goals,
that happier life they’re seeking could be closer within reach,” says
Pam Codispoti, President, Consumer Branded Cards, Chase Card Services.

Chase Slate cardholders have access to the Credit
Score amp; More feature that Credit Dashboard provides a
comprehensive view of their credit health through free access to their
monthly FICO® Score, along with the reasons behind the score,
the top positive and negative factors impacting it and tailored tips for
improving credit health overtime. The feature is available online at Chase.com.

About the Chase Slate 2016 Credit Outlook Survey

The Chase Slate 2016 Credit Outlook Survey was commissioned on behalf of
Chase Card Services to measure Americans’ understanding, attitudes and
perceptions around credit and credit health. The survey was conducted
via an online survey by Stratalys Research, an independent research
company. Interviews were conducted from December 2 – December 15, 2015
among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents age 18 and
older, plus an oversample of 450 Hispanics to total 600 Hispanic
interviews. The credibility interval is +/- 3.6% for a sample size of
1,000, +/- 4.65% for a sample size of 600, and larger for subgroups.

About Chase

Chase is the US consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan
Chase amp; Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with
assets of $2.3 trillion and operations worldwide. Chase serves nearly
half of America’s households with a broad range of financial services,
including personal banking, credit cards, mortgages, auto financing,
investment advice, small business loans and payment processing.
Customers can choose how and where they want to bank: 5,400 branches,
17,000 ATMs, mobile, online and by phone. For more information, go to Chase.com.
For more information about Chase Slate, go to ChaseSlate.com.

Lack of Financial Literacy Holding Back Millennials

by Shelton on February 26th, 2016

filed under Student Credit Cards

Inadequate financial knowledge has put many Millennials in dire financial circumstances, according to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and George Washington University. In fact, when given a test about complicated issues, such as bond concepts, inflation and risk diversification, only 24% demonstrated basic financial knowledge and just 8% showed high financial literacy.

The report analyzed the financial characteristics of more than 5,500 respondents aged 23-35 and found this lack of financial literacy is jeopardizing Millennials’ future financial success. Key findings include:

Satisfaction
34% of Millennials are very unsatisfied (1-3 on a scale of 1-10) with their current financial situation. 18% are not at all satisfied.

Student Loans
54% are concerned about their ability to repay their student loans. Even those with a sizable salary ($75,000 or above) are worried. 34% of this economic bracket said they are not sure they will be able to repay their student loans.

Long-Term Debt
For Millennials, debt crosses economic and educational lines. Among college-education Millennials, 81% have at least one long-term debt, compared to only 2/3 of people in other demographics. 30% of all Millennials and 44% of college-education Millennials carry more than one long-term obligation. The numbers indicate that a college degree may no longer guarantee a better financial future.

Unprepared for Emergencies
This generation is having a tough time making ends meet. Nearly 30% are overdrawing their checking accounts and most are unprepared for emergencies. Nearly 50% said they could not come up with an extra $2,000 if they needed it, and 53% are carrying balances on their credit cards.

Alternative Financial Services (AFS)
Millennials are heavy users of AFS, such as payday loans, pawnshops, auto title loans, tax refund advances and rent-to-own products. In the past five years, 42% of Millennials have used these products. 50% of those users had a high school degree or less and 28% had a college degree. Even those with bank accounts (39%) and credit cards (35%) are using alternative financial services.

Retirement
Only 36% of Millennials have a retirement account, and many are tapping into their retirement to make ends meet. More than 20% took a loan against their accounts and 14% made a hardship withdrawal.

Not Seeking Assistance
Even though they do not posses adequate financial knowledge, only 27% of Millennials are seeking professional financial advice on savings and retirement, and a mere 12% sought assistance on debt management.

PwC believes this cycle can only be broken through financial education. In 2012, they launched the Earn Your Future program, which invests in helping students develop financial skills by providing educators with the resources and training they need.

Beware: Cupid is checking those credit scores

by Shelton on February 25th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

The odds of whether a relationship will work out may have less to do with love and more to do with money.

As romantic as it sounds, it may just boil down to compatible credit scores.

The higher your credit score when a committed relationship starts, the less likely you are to break up after the first few years, according to new research by the Federal Reserve Board. Well-matched credit scores also bode well for a long-lasting love.

Credit scores reveal an individuals relationship skill and level of commitment, the report concluded.

Those with the highest credit scores were most likely to form long-lasting committed relationships. And the greater the mismatch between a couples credit scores, the more likely they are to separate within the first five years, the study showed.

Love and credit scores

by Shelton on February 25th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

Thats the number used by the credit industry that evaluates your debt payment history. Your score determines your creditworthiness when it comes to such things as applying for a mortgage or obtaining a car loan.

Three economists reviewed data from the Equifax credit reporting company, covering millions of consumers over a 15-year-period that ended in mid-2014.

Heres where it gets a little deep: In their data screening, the researchers identified committed relationships by noticing when two individuals who had not shared addresses began to do so and continued to live together at least one year. The data did not distinguish between married and non-married couples or cohabitants.

The researchers said in the report that their goal was to examine how credit scores play a role in the formation of committed relationships, such as marriages and long-term cohabitations, as well as the couples ability to maintain the relationship.

Generally, what they found was this match: People tend to form serious relationships with people whose credit scores are in the same range.

Among the details:

–For every additional 93 points or so in a couples average credit score at the beginning of a relationship, their odds of separating during the second year of their courtship dropped by 30 percent.

–On the other hand, if the gap between a couples individual scores is greater than 66 points at the start of their relationship, the couple is 24 percent more likely to split up within their second, third or fourth year.

Poorly matched couples may face challenges in jointly managing household finances, such as managing debt, paying bills or saving for a rainy day fund, the report said.

The researchers offered another link between credit scores and successful relationships — trustworthiness. In other words, the report said, credit scores matter for committed relationships because they reveal information about general trustworthiness.

Does all this sound complicated? It really isnt.

To be sure, low credit scores can lead to financial stress, and those difficulties can often spill over into the relationship and destroy it.

One other takeaway from the Fed report: Dont make money a taboo topic with your spouse or dating partner.

A 2015 survey from TD Bank of people who were either married, engaged or in relationships found that couples who regularly talk about credit card debt, spending, saving and, yes, even their credit scores are happier in their relationships than those who discuss finances less frequently. And money problems are one of the leading causes for divorce.

(Questions, comments, column ideas? Send an e-mail to srosen(AT)kcstar.com or write to him at The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.)

(c) 2016 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Here’s what credit scores look like across America

by Shelton on February 24th, 2016

filed under Credit Scores

FA Insights is a daily newsletter from Business Insider that delivers the top news and commentary for financial advisors.

What credit scores look like across America (CreditRepair.com)

CreditRepair.com looked at the median credit score for every state in America, and found southern states have the lowest scores in the country. Residents of Mississippi (655), Georgia (674) and South Carolina (676) had the lowest median credit scores, and among the highest percentage of people living in poverty. Additionally, the older you are the higher likelihood you have an excellent credit score (760 or above). 52% of those 60 or older have excellent scores, compared to only 11% of those aged 18 to 29.

The EU lowered its inflation forecast (Bloomberg)

The European Union lowered its 2016 inflation outlook to 0.5% from its November forecast of 1%, Bloomberg reports. European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters that while inflation is expected to remain low in the first half of the year, It should then rise slightly in the second half when the impact from the past sharp falls in oil prices abates. The EU hasnt met its 2% inflation target since January 2013.

A loot at how Americans are saving for retirement (Fidelity)

Fidelitys 401(k) and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) savings analysis for the fourth quarter of 2015 found both 401(k)s and IRAs saw increases, but are down year-over-year. Specifically, the average 401(k) account at Fidelity rose 4.1% in the quarter, but fell 3.7% YoY. As for IRAs, the average account held edged up 1.6% from the third quarter, but lost 2.3% compared to last year. Fidelity found about 25% of its 401(k) assets are being stored in target-date funds.

Trust in RIAs is fragile (Wealth Management)

Wealth Management reports, while speaking at the National LINC 2016 conference, Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional, said trust in RIAs is low — lower, in fact, than the chemical companies. Nally noted millennials in particular are the least trusting generation of financial services. We need to shift the conversation from a focus on the price of advice to talking about the value that RIAs deliver to clients through good planning, Nally told the conference.

TD is buying FA Insight (Investment News)

TD Ameritrade says it has reached an agreement to acquire data provider FA Insight. According to Investment News, the deal will allow TD to offer advisors who custody their assets at TD industry reports and benchmarking data. A TD spokesperson said the research will allow advisors to make more informed decision. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.