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Cheat Sheet Qamp;A: Where to get secure credit scores online
Love your am show, I have a question, maybe you can help me!
I would like to check my credit score, where could I go online to check it? (Im concerned about safety/security, identity theft, etc). Thank you for your time, all the best….
Bottom Line: This is an excellent question. If you search online for credit scores youll be presented with a myriad of options. You certainly should be skeptical about the security of the services and accuracy of the information provided. So lets get startedhellip;
No true free credit scores are available from the sites like Credit Karma.com. Now credit Karma.com is a good site with terrific information and resources for you to take advantage of for free but you wont get the actual credit scores youre looking for. Credit Karma has a partnership with Trans Union to provide an estimated score based on certain data from Trans Union called the Trans Risk score. It may provide a rough estimate of what your actual Trans Union credit score may be but thats about it. Thats true of so many of the other sites that purport to offer free credit scores without provider a credit card number. So where should you go?
So lets first take a step back at what scores are available and how they are used by those who will evaluate them. You have two metrics that matter. You have the three consumer credit ratings agencies:
You really need to have a credit score from each one of these consumer credit agencies because if a business or entity evaluates your credit score the method thats most commonly used works like thishellip; They will drop the highest score and the lowest score, with the middle score being the one thats used. The single score thats most relevant isnt one of those numbers howeverhellip;
If you want just one score your Fico score is the way to go. Over 90% of businesses will now use Fico, in conjunction with, or instead of the credit scores provided by the consumer credit rating agencies. So where should you go to get the information online?
Myfico.com is the best site to obtain your fico score (and the also have their own estimator if thatll do for your purposes) and they also do bundle all credit score for you to purchase if youre so inclined
But what is the most cost effective way to obtain the scores?
While purchasing scores from the sites will run you about $10 for each score, if you already use an ID protection service (which I recommend) you generally can upgrade your service for a couple of dollars per month to obtain all three of your credit scores on a regular basis. Identity Guard is the service I prefer and for a mid-level plan you can get all three scores each quarter and one of them every month with the service. So if ID protection and your real credit scores are something youd like to monitor thats the way Id recommend going.
If you have a topic or question youd like me to address email me: email@example.com
What can be learned (an important lesson) by presidential approval ratings in individual states:
Bottom Line: Youll notice that I rarely discuss the Presidents average approval rating (since the 2012 election cycle). While Im glad to see that a majority of Americans view the Presidents performance as being poor, there is nothing constructive in my view with endlessly piling on about the Presidents poor approval ratings. So if I do discuss Presidential approval ratings its because Ive picked up on data thats instructive. Such is the case today.
President Obamas average approval rating nationally stands at 42% right now. Thats in-line with most of what weve seen over the past year which has seen his approval rating range from 40-45% (in an average of all polls). So if I were to tell you that in a particular state the President has an approval rating of 45%, that would seem completely normal, unlesshellip;
The state Im referring too is one in which the President won in both election cycles. Its one in which he won with greater than 60% of the vote in both election cycles. Its one of the most widely viewed barometers of left leaning policy. Its one of the largest states in the country. I believe that without any of those hints I could give the average astute political observers 45 guesses before thatd identify California as the state that currently sports a 45% approval rating of the President.
One year ago today the Presidents approval rating in Cali was 62%. A 17% decline in one of the biggest Democratic strong-holds in the country breaks a couple of myths. The ideas that certain people or parts of the country wont change their political perspective and for all intents and purposes should be written off as unwinnable for the typical opposition party candidateshellip; Especially notable in the Cali approval rating is the decline in the most liberal cities in California. The President has seen a decline of 11% in Las Angeles and 7% in San Francisco year over year. It doesnt mean that suddenly Californians have suddenly turned into conservatives but it does demonstrate that many people previously written off by many conservatives are hungry for better leadership and policy. This is a learning opportunity.
What most need to learn from the celebrity nude hack story:
Bottom Line: The real lesson from the whole big celeb iCloud hack story for everyone is how much info we are actually storing online often without realizing it. If you have a mobile device and cloud storage theres a good chance youre putting all of your mobile information online without ever realizing it. Virtually every mobile company has cloud storage that they offer as added value (Apple iCloud, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc). Theyll enable a certain amount of storage for free with an active mobile device. If you had your mobile device setup by your service provider there is a good chance that your device is automatically backing itself up on the cloud. That means every picture as well. This is what to the celebs. They didnt likely realize that once they took pictures on their phone, that they were actually being stored online. There can be benefit to the backing up of your phone (if your phone were lost or damaged for example) but clearly it can present issues as well. You do have the option to turn off the auto cloud features in the settings on your mobile devices.
YouTube just turned into a legit business for the talented few who have a real following:
Bottom Line: For enterprising individuals YouTube has been the largest video platform available to attempt to use as a marketing tool. That means that hopefully you can gain a bit of a following with your video postings and some of them may be steered to visiting your website and perhaps doing business with you at some point. It hasnt been a business opportunity unto itself (expect for its parent Google) until now.
Google has now enabled a new YouTube feature called Fan Funding. Think of it as a way to tip videos that you think are worth tipping. For those few who do a great job capturing the imagination of a following of viewers to their videos they may now be able to turn YouTube into a legitimate business. Its basically crowd-funding for YouTube videos. Now the catch as of now is that Google has only enabled Google Wallet as a method to Fan Fund videos but it is believed that in short order theyll accept more payment methods.
The tangled web we weed… The curious case of Colorados Marijuana tax shortfall (and important takeaways for other states):
Bottom Line: If youre an observer of the new you likely have continued to see that the tourism numbers this year in Colorado are up (about 7% as of the last report Ive seen). The reason most commonly cited is of course marijuana. Now travel is up around the country at about a 3-4% rate this year so about half of the increase may just be a general economic improvement in travel but still its clear that many have taken to Colorado to sample the goods. But heres the thing. Colorado has collected $21.5 fewer tax dollars thus far in 2014 than anticipated. So given that they do seem to be attracting a sizeable amount of traffic to the state for marijuana consumption what gives?
The Marijuana Policy Group investigated an discovered a potentially huge issue for the statehellip; It happens to be something I highlighted at the beginning of the yearhellip; The black market is still a huge factor.
The state tax on the legal marijuana is 27%. That has made the black market a far cheaper alternative for marijuana vs. the licensed stores selling it. The research discovered that 40% of all marijuana purchased in Colorado is still being taking place in the black market. Worse stillhellip; the trend is that increasingly more are seeking it out on the black market. Aside from being able to obtain a cheaper price for the product on the black market people are avoiding the often long lines at many businesses that cater to the tourists. More still the biggest risk associated with buying black market drugs has been removed. Once you have the product you know that law enforcement wont come after you, so in essence the only real legal risk remain with the seller of the product rather than the end user. So now the question will be what Colorados next move is now that they see it isnt working out quite as planned.