Category: Understanding Your Credit Report


Small-business resources

July 29, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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Tuesday

Build Your Own Website Using WordPress: Hosted by SCORE Houston. 9 am-1 pm, Palm Center Technology Center, 5330 Griggs Road. Cost $49. Registration: www. scorehouston.org.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Franchise: 9-11:30 am, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $29. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

Starting Your Business: 9 am-4 pm, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $25, including lunch. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

QuickBooks Pro 2014: July 15 and July 17, 9 am-1:30 pm, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $129. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

Wednesday

Houston Minority Supplier Development Council Minority-Owned Business Certification: 9-11 am, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: No fee. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

State and Federal Taxes for Sole Proprietors: 9-11:30 am, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $19. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

Doing Business With Japan: 10 am-noon, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $19. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

Thursday

Getting Started With Inter- net Marketing and SEO: 9 am -noon, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $29. Registra- tion: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

Choosing a Legal Entity: 10 am-12:30 pm, UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200. Cost: $19. Registration: www.sbdc.uh.edu.

Friday

Capital One Straight Talk Workshop Series: Hosted by SCORE. Noon-3 pm, Wesley Community Center, 1410 Lee St. Topics: Understanding Your Credit Report; How To Legally Operate Your Houston-based Business; and 7 Ingredients for Creating Great Customer Experiences. Cost: Free. Registration: www.scorehouston.org.

Saturday

QuickBooks for Intermediate Users: Hosted by SCORE Houston. 9 am-1 pm, Palm Center Technology Center, 5330 Griggs Road. Cost $99. Registration: www.scorehouston.org.


Check your credit rating – interest rates may soon be rising

July 24, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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Of course, we know interest rates are definitely going to rise, so the question is when. To be honest, conflicting signals seem to be fairly common for example Robert Peston discusses this in Beware the Carney premium on the BBC news website. If youre concerned about when these rises do start, it makes good sense to check your credit rating and score. The higher it is, the greater the likelihood of your achieving better deals or lower interest rates. Take a moment to check your credit rating here with Experian.

The back-story of interest rates

To an extent, your view of this subject relates to your personal starting point. For older readers, ones who moved into their first mortgaged property several or many years ago, much higher interest rates were the norm even reaching double digits. Todays situation might still seem to them like moments of pure joy! However, in the last few years, with rates historically low and stable, a different attitude will have developed. Since March of 2009, the rate has been at a record low of 0.5%. Yet only five months earlier it stood at 4.5%, as stated in this original article. The increases to come may therefore remind some of times past, yet for others be a terrific shock to the system.

Whats likely to happen?

Its not just mortgages, of course; loan repayments will be higher, or taken out for longer periods, and some credit card rates may also head northwards. Of course, for every ying theres a yang, so many savers will be thinking: About time too when the rate heads upwards.

Small steps are the likely way forward. Its probable that rises will be in a quarter of one per cent increments, and may reach around 3% in around three years. If this doesnt sound too bad, its worth noting that the Office for Budget Responsibility has pointed out that a 2.5% increase in base rate would mean that, if you had a repayment mortgage of pound;150K, youd have to find an extra pound;230 each month.

Surveys by both the HomeOwners Alliance and Myhomemove have found that more than a third of homeowners are worried about finding the funds for such increases. Paul Higgins, Chief Executive of the former, recently noted that homeowners are already struggling to make ends meet. For those on fixed rate mortgages, the rises will have no instant effect. However, the shock might then be even greater when it comes time to remortgage.

Paying proper attention to your credit rating situation

Understanding your credit report, and appreciating how your history can impact on future credit applications is one sensible step you can now take to help you prepare for these future events. Experian can help you to monitor the management of your credit rating. Through this you are in a better position to find finance that best suits your credit profile when you need to apply for that next loan, mortgage or credit card. As the scouts have always told us – be prepared!


Protecting your credit rating

June 19, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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Credit ratings are not based on any mathematical formula.

Rather, agencies use their judgment and experience in determining what private and public information is considered when giving a rating to an individual or business.

A poor credit rating indicates a credit rating agency’s opinion of that individual or business they have a high risk of defaulting, based on their analysis of this person’s or company’s history

On an individual consumer level, Equifax and TransUnion are the two major credit reporting agencies in Canada.

These agencies compile a credit history of you based on information sent to them by businesses (banks, department stores, gas companies) that have extended you credit.

There are two ways that these agencies provide information – the first is a credit report and the second is a credit score.

Credit report

Your credit report includes personal information, such as your current and previous addresses and name of your employer.

Financial information in the report can include information on:

— your bank accounts, including any “bad” cheques or non-sufficient funds (NSF) payments

— credit you already have, such as credit cards, lines of credit, and loans

— a bankruptcy or a court decision against you that relates to credit

— debts that you did not pay, which were referred to collection

— a list of all people and companies who have made inquiries about your credit, including lenders, a landlord or employer, if you have given your consent

Credit score

Your credit score indicates the risk you represent to lenders compared to other consumers. The higher your score, the lower the risk. The credit reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion use a scale from 300 to 900.

Each lender can set its own minimum score for lending money to you. Lenders can also use your credit score to set the interest rate that you will pay to borrow money.

Factors that can affect your credit score include:

— how long you have had credit

— your history of making payments (Do you carry a balance on your credit cards? Have you missed payments?)

— your outstanding debts (Are you close to your credit limit?)

— the number of recent inquiries about your credit history (Are you trying to get more credit?)

— the types of credit you are using (credit card, mortgage, bank loan)

— any record of bankruptcy or your debts being sent to a collection agency.

That is a lot of personal information your lender (or potential lender) will have access to.

Understanding your credit report and score will help you protect your credit history.

If you know what information a potential lender is looking at, then you will have an inside track when applying for a loan, mortgage or line of credit. Good credit is an important keystone in your financial affairs.

Creditors won’t extend credit to anyone they feel will not be able to pay them back.

If you have not paid your bills in the past, a future creditor is justified in assuming you will not pay them either.

Hence, it is unlikely you will obtain credit unless you change your bill payment habits.

Once you have established some credit history you will be able to obtain credit at better interest rates, higher credit limits if required, and loans with better repayment terms.

Establishing credit is not an instantaneous procedure.

Credit is built up over time and is dependent upon you using it responsibly and making payments on time.

Protect your credit as your financial success depends upon it.

Marion Wahl is a Certified General Accountant who offers accounting and tax planning services to individuals and small businesses. She is a member of the CGA Association of BC Call her at 250-762-3362 or email at mwahl@wahlcga.com if you have questions or topics you would like

explored.


MSUFCU upcoming seminars

May 12, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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MSUFCU and the Womens Resource Center are hosting an Understanding Your Credit Report and Score seminar.

Attendees will learn the importance of a good credit score and what factors may impact it. This seminar will be held from noon to 1 pm April 23 at MSUFCUs Farm Lane Branch, located at 4825 E. Mt. Hope Road in East Lansing.

Another event, Understanding Social Security Benefits Seminar, will give participants the opportunity to ask the experts any questions they have about Social Security. Plan to attend this seminar from 6 to 7 pm April 24, also located at MSUFCUs Farm Lane Branch.

There is no charge to attend these seminars, and they are open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided for seminar attendees.

Seating is limited and an RSVP is requested. For reservations, call MSUFCUs Internal and Corporate Communications department at (517) 664-7725, or register online at www.msufcu.org/seminars.


Frugal Family: Get money smart at the library

April 30, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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April 5-12 is Money Smart Week at the Springfield-Greene County Library branches. This is a series of free seminars on being money smart. I attended several last year and found each to be very informative and interesting. There are programs for all ages (kids, too!).

Plan to attend a couple. If you see me there, come sit by me!

â?¢ NXT Financial Chapter: Advice for 20/30 somethings is 6:30 pm April 3 at the Library Center. Get tips on budgeting, credit and general money management. Presented by Bancorp South.

â?¢ Understanding Your Credit Report is 6:30 pm April 7 at the Library Station. Learn the importance of credit, how to improve it and take home a copy of your free credit report. Presented by Empire Bank and Edge Community Technology Center.

â?¢ Simple and Delicious Cooking on a Budget is 7 pm April 7 at the Library Center. Space is limited; register by calling 882-0714. Presented by Chef Chadwick from Hy-Vee.

â?¢ Protecting Your Piggy Bank is 9:45 am April 8 at the South Side Senior Center, 2215 S. Fremont Ave. Senior adults can learn how to recognize and avoid common financial scams. Presented by Better Business Bureau.

â?¢ Estate Planning Basics is 7 pm April 8 at the Library Center. Learn the basics about wills, trusts, probate, nursing home planning and more. Presenter is Ozarks Elder Law.

â?¢ Money Management 101 is 10:30 am April 9 at Midtown Carnegie Branch. Learn about basic budgeting skills, credit reports and scores. Presented by Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

â?¢ Money-Saving Ideas from Pinterest is 7 pm April 9 at the Library Center. Find money-saving tips on Pinterest. Presented by library staff.

â?¢ Gardening on a Dime is 6 pm April 10 at the Republic Branch Library. Learn how to stretch your gardening and landscaping dollar using inexpensive methods and seasonal time savers. Presented by Erin Gray.

â?¢ Here is schedule of events for teens on how to get a job, and for â??Making Sense of Numbersâ? story times for kids:

Especially for Teens: Get a Job

3:15 pm for grades 6-12 at the Midtown Carnegie Branch. Learn the ins and outs of job hunting:

â?¢ Monday April 7: Get the basics, from how to find out whoâ??s hiring to resumà building. Take a quiz and find out what youâ??re good at.

â?¢ Tuesday April 8: The Missouri Career Center will provide information on the services they offer to help you get a job.

â?¢ Wednesday April 9: Staff from the Edge will give you tips for searching job websites, filling out application and using Job amp; Career Accelerator.

â?¢ Thursday April 10: Learn how to answer tough questions in mock interviews and get tips for dressing on a budget.

Especially for Kids: Making Sense of Numbers Storytime

Even young children need to understand the concept of money. But first they need to understand how numbers and counting work. Read fun stories, sing songs and do activities that build early math skills.

â?¢ 10:30 am Monday April 7 at Brentwood Branch. Ages 3-6

â?¢ 5 pm Monday April 7 at Republic Branch. Preschool-Grade 2.

â?¢ 11 am Tuesday April 8 at Strafford Branch. Infants-age 6.

â?¢ 11 and 11:15 am Tuesday Wednesday and Friday April 8, 9, and 11 at the Library Center.

â?¢ 11 and 11:15 am Tuesday and Friday April 8 and 11 at the Library Station.

â?¢ 7 pm Tuesday April 8 at the Library Station.

â?¢ 11 am Wednesday April 9 at the Fair Grove Branch.

â?¢ 10 am Friday April 11 at the Midtown Carnegie Branch.


Tips for understanding your credit report

April 29, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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Q: I sometimes shop online but security concerns with different stores and now possible troubles with secure websites have me worried. I ordered a copy of my credit report to see where I stand, and that part makes sense. But how does credit scoring work?

A: Recent news about security concerns has a lot of people wondering what they can do to safeguard their financial information. Here are 4 things you can do to protect yourself against fraud:

Never let your credit cards leave your sight.

Never give your security codes /pins to another person.

If you don’t trust the security of an online retailer, use an alternative payment method like PayPal.

Check your own credit report at least once a year.

Canada’s two main credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, will provide consumers with a copy of their own credit report for free. When you receive your credit report, check the information that is being reported about you carefully. If there are mistakes or if there are any accounts or inquiries that you don’t recognize, contact the credit bureau right away for guidance. With your credit report, they will have enclosed a special phone number and reference number for you to use for this purpose.

As far as your credit score is concerned, it is not included with the free copy of your credit report. A credit score is used by lenders to predict the likelihood that someone will repay future debt, and it is based on five key factors on your credit report:

Payment history (35 per cent of your score): Always pay your bills on time every month to maintain a high score.

How much is owed (30 per cent): The more credit you use, the harder it becomes to pay it all back.

Length of credit history (15 per cent): Good or bad, everything will drop off your report in six to seven years, so a longer history and still using some older revolving accounts provides more information about your payment history.

New credit applications (10 per cent): Borrowing tends to happen in cycles at certain times in life. Repeatedly applying for more credit signals a budgeting or money problem.

Types of credit used (10 per cent): Different types of credit shed light on how you handle your money overall.

For a more detailed explanation of how credit scoring works and how to get your own credit report for free, visit mymoneycoach.ca.

Scott Hannah is president of the Credit Counselling Society, a non-profit organization. For more information about managing your money or debt, check www.nomoredebts.org or call 1-888-527-8999.


Budget for a new home

April 7, 2014

Understanding Your Credit Report

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For Chancellor George Osborne, home is where the electorates heart is which is perhaps one reason why he put a raft of property-related initiatives in the 2014 Budget.

First is the Help to Buy scheme, which got more than 25,000 households onto the property ladder in its first year and is now being extended to 2020, enabling buyers to secure a newly built home, often with just a five per cent deposit.

Then theres a pound;500 million fund designed to help cash-strapped developers complete 15,000 unfinished properties and Right to Build, which aims to unlock up to 10,000 plots for self-builds.

This is on top of his announcement of a new garden city in Ebbsfleet, Kent, which will see the government investing to create 15,000 new homes. In total, the Chancellor is aiming for 200,000 new homes by the turn of the decade

But with 300,000 new homes needed each year and the stamp duty threshold remaining at pound;125,000, would-be property owners will need to get their finances in great shape[2] lenders arent lending to just anyone. These steps could help you prove to lenders that their loan would be as safe as houses.

Give your finances an overhaul

Your credit rating plays a major role in the decisions lenders make when you apply for a mortgage, a credit card, car finance loans and mobile phone contracts.

Your Experian Credit Score is a guide that will help you understand how your credit history is likely to be seen by lenders. It can show you the way that youve managed credit in the past can affect future credit applications, and for you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply. Making little changes to improve your credit report can make a big difference; not only to getting credit, but also to the interest rates you could be charged.

So understanding your credit report, and the steps you can take to improve it, can help you put yourself in a stronger position when it comes to applying for the credit you want.

Review your credit report

To help give yourself the best chance, one thing to do is to take the opportunity to review your Experian Credit Report before you next make an application for major credit (eg: a mortgage, or a loan). The data and information held on your credit report summarises your credit history, so its in your interests to ensure that it provides an accurate and up-to-date picture of your credit histories, and review it on a regular basis.

Even simple discrepancies on your credit report, such as different ways of listing your name and address, can make a difference. Your credit report is of course only one part of your application – lenders also use the information provided on your application form you use, and information that they already hold on you (for example, if youre applying through your bank). You can see your Experian credit report with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert.

Content/Article provided by Experian links to Experian CreditExpert are placed for promotional purposes


SWLA Weekend Guide

November 9, 2013

Understanding Your Credit Report

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Theres a lot going on in and around Southwest Louisiana this weekend.

Events will include the return of Movies Under the Stars in Lake Charles, a Tribute to Iry LeJeune in Eunice, the Louisiana Swine Festival in Basile, the 38th Annual Retiree Appreciation Day at Fort Polk, the 5th Annual Yellow Rails amp; Rice Festival in Jennings, the Louisiana State Soap Box Derby Championship in Leesville and a host of Halloween haunts.

Here are your highlights:

Lake Charles:

Movies Under the Stars: Brave: Oct. 25 at 7 pm at Prien Lake Park, located at 3700 W. Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served. Attendees are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs and snacks, although concessions will be available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be canceled. For more information, call 721-3515.

3rd Annual Culture Fest Louisiana: Oct. 26 at the Lake Charles Civic Center, located at 900 Lakeshore Dr. in Lake Charles. The event will celebrate Louisiana and global culture with food, music, fashion, art and performances, including dancers from India, international choirs, Chinese dragon dancers, bagpipes musicians and more. The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to donate, visit www.CultureFestLouisiana.com or email info@culturefestlouisiana.com or call 337-409-9636.

Handle Bars for Battle Scars Bike-a-thon: Oct. 26 at the Burton Coliseum, located at7001 Gulf Hwy in Lake Charles. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Fisher House Foundation, which supports disabled veterans. Registration packets may be picked up from 6:30 am to 7:30 am on Oct. 26 at the Kappa Sigma Fraternity House, located at 4220 Auburn St. in Lake Charles. Online registration is available at http://www.usacycling.org/register/2013-3297. There are three available courses, ranging from 11-45 miles. All courses will begin at Burton Coliseum. The Theta Rho Chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity at McNeese State University is teaming up with Lake Charles Racing to host the event. For more information, click HERE.

Arts Fest: Fairytales, Myths and Legends: Oct. 26 from 10 am to 2 pm in the Exhibition Hall in the Lake Charles Civic Center, located at 900 Lakeshore Dr. in Lake Charles. The event will explore local legends and myths and famous fairytales. The event will feature demonstrations, interactive exhibits, crafts, face painting, an art contest, food and music. There will be a costume contest at 11:30 am The event is free and open to the public.

Showdown at Sundown High School Marching Band Festival: Oct. 26 at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles. Gates will open at 5:15 pm and the event begins at 6 pm Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12. Twelve local high school marching bands will participate in the event. Bands will be rated by a panel of music educators. Winners will be announced at an award ceremony at the end of the event. Participating Louisiana high schools are Barbe in Lake Charles, Iowa, Kaplan, Lake Arthur, Westlake and Woodlawn in Baton Rouge, while Texas high schools include Bridge City, Orangefield, Hudson in Lufkin, Robert E. Lee in Baytown and Sam Rayburn and Pasadena Memorial in Pasadena. The Pride of McNeese Cowboy Marching Band will conclude the evening with exhibition performances of its pre game and halftime shows.

Presentation by author: Oct. 27 at 3 pm at Central Library, located at 301 W. Claude St. in Lake Charles. Christine Smith and her husband, Captain Jeffery Smith, will present a multi-media presentation on Alaskan travel and wooden boat restoration, based on their numerous travels to Alaska and Christines book, More Faster Backwards: Rebuilding David B. Refreshments will be provided after the lecture concludes, and the Smiths will be available to answer questions. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call Central Library at 337-721-7118 or visit www.calcasieulibrary.org.

Harp recital: Oct. 27 at 3 pm in the Shearman Fine Arts Performing Arts Theatre at McNeese State University. The recital is free and open to the public. Barbara Belew and Patricia Horvath perform works by Georges Bizet, Henry Carey, Arcangello Corelli, Benedetto Marcello, Michael Praetorius, Louise Trotter, Marcel Tournier and Samuel A. Ward, while the arrangers are David Burton, Annie Challan, Deborah Friou, Mary Radspinner and Trotter.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group meeting: Oct. 28 from 9 to 11 am at the Allen P. August Multi-Purpose Annex, located at 2000 Moeling St. in Lake Charles. Any grandparents who are raising their grandchildren or actively helping to raise their grandchildren are invited to attend a free support group sponsored by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group meetings are an opportunity for grandparents to discuss issues, share ideas, hear guest speakers, and spend time with other grandparents who are in similar situations. Registration is required. For more information or to reserve your spot at this free event, call 337-721-4020.

Zombie Prom: Oct. 28 at 4 pm at Central Library, located at 301 W. Claude St. in Lake Charles. Teens can come in costume or get made-up at the event, which will include dancing, games and photos. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call 721-7116 or visit http://calcasieulibrary.org.

Faculty/guest recital: Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm at First United Methodist Church, located at 812 Kirkman St. in Lake Charles. The free concert, offered by the McNeese State University Department of Performing Arts will feature soprano Dr. Carol Lines and mezzo-soprano Sarah Callahan. They will be assisted by Dr. Judy Hand, on flute, and Dr. Lina Morita, on piano. For more information, call the McNeese Department of Performing at 475-5028.

Understanding Your Credit Report seminar: Oct. 29 from 11 am to 12:20 pm in Room 228 of Farrar Hall on the McNeese State University Campus. Claire Loup, an economic and financial education specialist at the New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Ga., will serve as guest speaker at this free event. For more information, call 337-475-5432 or email dwhatley@mcneese.edu.

Twitter 101: Oct. 31 at 10 am at Central Library, located at 301 W. Claude St. in Lake Charles. Adults will learn the basics of Twitter. Participants are asked to have a Twitter account set up before the class. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call 721-7116 or visit http://calcasieulibrary.org.

Meals prepared by the McNeese Meal Club: Thursdays from 11:30 am-12:30 pm in the Gayle Annex Food Services Lab behind Gayle Hall. Meals will be prepared by students in the Quantity Food Production course. Dates and menus include: Chicken biryani on Oct. 31, Fish fillet with etouffee sauce on Nov. 7, Meatloaf with a chipotle glaze on Nov. 14 and Roasted turkey on Nov. 21. Tickets are $8.50 per person and must be purchased in advance. Seating is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. For tickets or more information, contact Eljeana Quebedeaux at equebedeaux@mcneese.edu or call 475-5690 or 475-5700.

5th Annual Preventing Family Violence Workshop: Nov. 1 from 8 am to 5 pm at the SEED Center, located at 4310 Ryan Street, across from the McNeese campus. The event aims to bring domestic violence workers together to work on collaborative and effective ways to move forward.Topics discussed will include domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect, and animal cruelty. The Peoples Advocate, OASIS, Calcasieu Animal Services, PETCO Foundation, the ASPCA, the McNeese State University Department of Social Services and local experts are scheduled to participate in the event. For more information, contact The Peoples Advocate at 337-436-3475 or http://www.thepeoplesadvocateswla.com/.

1st Annual Fish-O-Rama: Nov. 2 at Calcasieu Point Landing.Fishing will begin at 7:30 am, with weigh-in set for 11 am at Calcasieu Point Landing. Cormies will provide lunch and live music at 11 am There is a $20 entrance fee for adults and a $10 entrance fee for children to register for the tournament through Nov. 1 at 5 pm On the day of the tournament, entrance fees will be $30 for adults and $15 for children. Fees include a t-shirt and a meal ticket. Registration forms are being accepted at Calcasieu Point Landing, Cormies, Cajun Tackle, Spicer Bait and Tackle and Cajun Fast Mart. Big Lake Fuels will host the event, which will benefit Family amp; Youth Counseling Agency. Contact Roxanne Camara at roxanne@fyca.org, or 337-436-9533 for more information.

Gardening classes: Saturdays in November and December from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the Tuten Park Education Building, located at 3801 Nelson Rd. Classes are for beginning gardeners and the topics and dates are: Organic Gardening: 101 on Nov. 2, The Perfect Compost Recipe on Nov. 9, Planning Irrigation for Your Garden on Nov. 23, The Dirt on Dirt on Dec. 7, and Growing More in the Space You Have (Container Gardening) on Dec. 14.Seating is limited. For more information or to register, e-mail: golden.tradewell@cityoflc.us. Friends of Tuten Park is hosting the classes.

Basile:

Louisiana Swine Festival: Nov. 1-3 at the fairgrounds in Basile, La., with a parade set for Nov. 3 at 1 pm Admission to the festival is $5 for adults and free for children ages 5 and under. The event will feature a beauty pageant, a pork cook-off, a greasy pig chase and live music. Performers will include Johnny Guinn amp; Rue Louisiane, and Keith Frank amp; the Soileau Zydeco Band. A complete schedule can be found HERE. For more information, call 337-432-6807, email laswinefestival@yahoo.com or click HERE.

DeRidder:

5th Annual Halloween Hustle 5K Zombie Gleaux Run/Walk: Oct. 26 beginning at 6:45 pm at BeauCARE, Inc., located at 628 High School Drive in DeRidder. Registration will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 pm Pre registration is also available. Forms may be picked up at BeauCARE or requested via email at info@beaucares.org or www.beaucares.org. Paper forms may be mailed to PO Box 1779, DeRidder, LA, 70634. For more information, call 337-462-2273.

Eunice:

Tribute to Iry LeJeune: October 26 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Liberty Theatre, located at 200 West Park Ave. in Eunice. Emcee will be Larry Miller. Performers will include: Eddie James LeJeune, Ervin LeJeune, Emerson LeJeune, Eddie LeJeune Jr., Monica LeJeune Matte, Robert Richard, Toby Richard, Kegan Navarre, Dello Bubba Hebert, and special guests Milton, Ellis and Orsey Vanicor from the Original Lacassine Playboys.

The performance is being presented as part of the Rendez-vous des Cajuns Cajun Music Radio amp; TV Show. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 4 pm at the ticket window of the Liberty Theater. Tickets are $5 and general admission seating. For more information, call the Eunice Mayors Office at 337-457-7389 or visit www.eunice-la.com. For more on Iry LeJeune, click HERE.

Trick or Treat: Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 pm from S. Second St. to Park Ave. in downtown Eunice. The event will feature trick-or-treating, games, a costume contest, a coloring contest, face painting and more. The City of Eunice is hosting the event.

Florien:

Halloween events at Hodges Gardens: Oct. 26 at the facility, located at 1000 Hodges Loop in Florien, La. Activities will include trick-or-treating at the main gardens from 5 to 6 pm for children ages 12 and under. The film Hotel Transylvania will be shown by the lake at 6 pm, with concessions available on-site. Participants should bring lawn chairs or other seating. A Haunted Garden Tour will be held from 7 to 9 pm for ages 9 and up. Regular entrance fees apply. For more information, call 318-586-3523.

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Oct. 31 at 7 pm at Hodges Gardens State Park, located at 1000 Hodges Loop in Florien, La. Because the film is rated R, it is not recommended for guests ages 17 and under. Participants are invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Regular entrance fees apply.

Fort Polk:

38th Annual Retiree Appreciation Day: Oct. 26 from 8:30 am to 2 pm at Fort Polk. The event is open to military retirees of all armed services, their families and survivors who live in Louisiana and southeast Texas. The days events include a Retiree Service Fair at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center, Building 220, with legal assistance and information on veterans services and organizations; a Retiree Health Fair from 8:30 am to 2 pm at the hospital; free dental exams by Fort Polk Dental Activity; health and wellness screenings and various information booths. For more information call Scott Ellis at 531-0363/0402.

7th Annual Heritage Day: Oct. 25-27 at Fort Polk. The event will honor families who were forced to move from the Fort Polk and Peason Ridge areas during World War II in order to establish the Fort Polk military post and its training areas. The Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk are hosting the event, which will feature family booths with pictures and heirlooms, cemetery tours, demonstrations, seminars, childrens activities and more. All Heritage Day activities are open to the public. For more information, call 337-531-6011 or click HERE.

Iowa:

The Life and Legacy of Jean Lafitte: Nov. 5-12 from 6 to 8 pm at the Iowa Library, located at 107 E 1st St, Iowa. Three sessions will be held discussing the book LaFitte the Pirate by Lyle Saxon. Sessions are: Lafitte: The Myth and the Reality on Nov. 5, Lafitte on Screen: Yul Brynner and The Buccaneer on Nov. 12, and Lafitte in Louisiana on Nov. 19. Dr. Cheryl Ware, retired Professor of English at McNeese State University, will conduct the program. The program is free and open to the public.Pre-registration is encouraged, due to limited space. Those interested can sign up by visiting the Iowa Library or by calling the branch at 337-721-7101.

Jennings:

5th Annual Yellow Rails amp; Rice Festival: through Oct. 27 in Jennings. The festival aims to provide a unique view of the bird in its habitat and to provide birders and farmers with a better understanding of the birds role in the ecosystem. The festival will include several field days with assistance from local agencies who study and manage the birds. Also included are sessions of live music and Cajun cooking at venues on Jennings, Crowley and Thornwell.

Festival attendees are invited to attend other exploratory ventures, including kayak tours and trips to museums and wildlife conservation areas not on the festival itinerary. Groups will tour the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science, the White Lake Wetland Conservation Area, Sweet Lake, Kisatchie National Forest and Lake Martin. The full schedule is available HERE.

For those who wish to view Yellow Rails in rice fields, a caravan will meet at the Thornwell Warehouse Association each morning of the festival and drive out to rice fields to view harvesting activities, weather permitting. To register for festival activities, click HERE.

Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock: Oct. 31 at the Strand Theatre, located at 432 N Main St. in Jennings. Doors open at 7 pm, and the movie begins at 7:30 pm Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors or children ages 12 and under. For more information, call 337-821-5509.

Main Street Trick or Treat: Oct. 31 on downtown Main St. in Jennings. Children ages 12 and under are invited to trick-or-treat while area businesses and residents hand out goodies. For more information, call 337-821-5532 or visit www.cityofjennings.com. The City of Jennings is hosting the event.

Lafayette:

Louisiana Crossroads concert series: All performances will be held at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, located at 101 W. Vermilion St. in Lafayette. Dates and times are as follows: Marc Broussard with Roddie Romero amp; special guests on Oct. 25 at 7:30 pm; Trombone Shorty amp; New Orleans Avenue on Dec. 3-4 at 7:30 pm; The Good amp; Young with the Savioe Family Bands on Nov. 21-22 at 7:30 pm; Gal Holiday amp; the Honky Tonk Revue on March 27-28 at 7:30 pm; James Hunter Six amp; special guests on April 10-11 at 7:30 pm; and Los Lobos with Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars on May 21-22 at 7:30 pm For more information, including ticket pricing, visithttp://www.acadianacenterforthearts.org/ and click on the LA Crossroads tab.

Science Meets Art Festival: Oct. 25-26 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, will serve as the keynote speaker. The festival is free and open to the public and will be held at two locations. It begins Friday evening at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, in the Universitys Research Park, at 537 Cajundome Blvd. On Saturday, events will be held simultaneously at LITE and at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, 710 E. St. Mary Blvd. For more information about the festival, visit smart.louisiana.edu or www.facebook.com/ULSMART2013.

Boo Bayou Fall Carnival: Oct. 26 from 10 am to 3 pm at Vermilionville in Lafayette. Activities will include trick-or-treating, games, cooking demonstrations and picture stations. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and free for children ages 3 and under. For more information, call 337-233-4077.

2nd Annual ZombieWalk: Oct. 26 in downtown Lafayette. The event is free to participants, who may dress in costume, and spectators are encouraged to join in. The rules of the event will be announced on the lawn of Parc Sans Souci at 4:30 pm, with the walk beginning at 6 pm An after party will be held at the park following the walk. The event will feature live music from Yakk and Bearfighter and a costume contest. Food vendors will be present. All proceeds benefit the Lafayette Science Museum. For more information, call 337-291-5544.

40th Anniversary of the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Nov. 6 on the 3rd floor of Edith Garland Dupre Library. Events are free and open to the public. Events will include an open house of the centers offices (Rooms 313 and 321) from 9 -11:30 am After lunch, the center will host a symposium in the Jefferson Caffery Reading Room (Room 314) Panels will discuss the history of the Center for Louisiana Studies, the UL Press and the publishing industry, and plans for the Center. A roundtable discussion on the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore will cover the Centers mission and accomplishments, as well as how to utilize its resources and support its activities.

Parking is available at a pay lot on campus, at the corner of East St. Mary Boulevard and Girard Park Circle. That parking lot does not accept cash. For more information about this event or the Center for Louisiana Studies, call 337-482-6027, email clspresents@louisiana.edu or visit cls.louisiana.edu.

Lake Arthur:

Boo on the Avenue: Oct. 27 in downtown Lake Arthur. A chili cook-off will be held beginning at 2 with serving at 5 pm There will also be a pumpkin carving contest, games, a pet costume contest, a bake-off, pictures and trick-or-treating. For more information, click HERE.

Leesville:

Louisiana State Soap Box Derby Championship: Oct. 26 on 3rd St. in downtown Leesville. Check-in and inspections begin at 8 am with practice time trials lasting from 8 to 10 am The races begin at 10 am, and spectators are welcome.

Participants will be broken into categories based on age. Categories are ages 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17. National approved racers and Lulu street racers will be used. There is a $10 entry fee to participate in the race. Printable entry forms are available HERE.

An awards ceremony will be held at 2:30 pm Awards will be given for sportsmanship, workmanship, original body design, paint and decals, the top racer in each age category and a grand champion.

For more information, including race rules and regulations, call 337-208-6580 or click HERE.

Witch Way to Main: Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 pm on Third and East Texas streets in Historic Downtown Leesville.The event is free and open to the public and will be hosted by Friends of Leesville Main Street. For more information, call 337-239-2444, Ext 9.

Marthaville:

A tribute to lsquo;The Louisiana Hayride: Nov. 2 from 9 am to 5 pm at the Rebel State Historic Site, located approximately 25 miles west of Natchitoches, LA on LA Hwy. 1221 North. Presentations begin at 10 am and 1 pm will highlight the long run of The Hayride. Each presentation will be followed by the documentary, The Louisiana Hayride The Story, narrated by Hank Williams, Jr. with excerpts from original Louisiana Hayride programs, originally broadcast on KWKH radio. Admission is $4 for adults (ages 13 to 61). Schools Groups, children (12 and under), seniors (62 and over) and State Parks annual pass holders are admitted free. For more information, call 888-677-3600 toll free or 472-6255 locally.

Natchitoches:

Haunted History Tour: Oct. 26 from 6:30 to 9 pm at the American Cemetery in Natchitoches. The tour will continue in the Samuel Guy House. Local actors will portray historical figures at the event. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for students and children. The Natchitoches Historic Foundation will host the event. For more information, call the Natchitoches Area CVB at 800-259-1714 or email inquiry@ natchitoches.com.

Orange, Texas:

Exploration and Discovery Lecture Series: October and November at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Texas. Lectures include Charles Darwin and His Revolutionary Idea on Nov. 4 at 6:30 pm, and Exploring for Native Plants: Lessons from Nature for the Garden on Nov. 18 at 6:30 pm All lectures will be held in the Discovery Theater on the grounds of Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Space is limited, and an RSVP with advance payment is required. Pre-payment will serve as the RSVP for these lectures and can be made at the Shangri La admission window during regular business hours or pay by phone with a credit card by calling 409-670-9113. Call 409-670-9799 for more details.

Scarecrow Festival: through Nov. 9 at Shangri La Botanical Garden and Nature Center, located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Texas. Local businesses, schools, churches, families, groups and individuals have provided the unique scarecrow designs and exhibits. Throughout the festival, visitors are invited to vote for their favorite scarecrow as well as guess the weight of a giant pumpkin on display in the garden. Prizes for the most popular scarecrows will be awarded at Shangri Las Autumn Fair, the conclusion of the Scarecrow Festival, on Nov. 9. For more information, visit www.shangrilagardens.org.

Rayne:

Rayne In Pink: Oct. 26 at 9 am at Depot Square on the Rayne Frog Festival Fairgrounds. The event will support breast cancer awareness. The event will include a silent auction, a raffle for a bicycle, free food, live music and door prizes. The Sisters of Aamp;O 21st Century Club are hosting the event, which is open to the public. All proceeds of the day will be donated to Komen of Acadiana, and Miles Peret Center of Lafayette.

Sulphur:

Jenns Journey: Oct. 26 at the Victory Worship Center, located at 1410 W. Napoleon St. in Sulphur. The event will include a silent auction, a cake walk, a head shaving event, bounce houses, food and music. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer patient Jenn Broussard. For more information or to donate, call 337-353-3473 or 337-263-4959.

Rob Nicholls Ride for Research: Rob Nicholls is making his way across the United States via a bicycle tour in order to raise awareness of Prader-Willi Syndrome. His journey includes a stop in Sulphur, La. on Oct. 26. Nicholls is also working to raise funds for research on Prader-Willi Syndrome. The trip began Oct. 10 in San Diego, Calif. and is set to end on Nov. 6 at the 2013 PWSA National Conference in Orlando, Fla. For information, call 1-800-926-4797 or visit http://www.pwsausa.org/.

Community Trunk or Treat: Oct. 31 at 5:30 pm at the Henning Cultural Center, located at 923 Ruth Street in Sulphur. The art exhibit, Chaos Theory will also open to the public at 6 pm at the center. For more information, Veronica Allison at 337-274-0905 or Thom Trahan at 337-527-0357.

Movies in the Square: Ghostbusters: Oct. 31 at sundown in Heritage Square in Sulphur. The event is free and open to the public, and participants are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The City of Sulphur is hosting the event.

For more information on these and other local Halloween programs, click HERE.


Helping Canadians Make Better Financial Decisions: FCAC Publishes 2012 …

November 7, 2013

Understanding Your Credit Report

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Oct. 29, 2013) – A new, comprehensive financial education program, revamped resources, new research projects and a successful nationwide education initiative that involved community groups across Canada are just a few highlights of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canadas (FCAC) 2012-2013 Annual Report.

The Annual Report shows how the Agency has fulfilled its dual mandate of supervising federally regulated financial entities and educating financial consumers with innovative and valuable programs.

More than ever, it is crucial that Canadians develop the knowledge, skills and confidence in managing their money, exploring the financial marketplace and in dealing with providers of financial services, said Commissioner Lucie Tedesco. FCAC has played a key role in contributing to the Government of Canadas objective of fostering a fair and secure marketplace.

Lucie Tedesco, previously the Deputy Commissioner of FCAC, was appointed Commissioner on September 3, 2013. She thanked the Agencys second Commissioner, Ursula Menke, for her many contributions to FCACs accomplishments over the past five and a half years.

Among FCACs achievements in 2012-2013:

  • The Agencys Compliance and Enforcement Branch investigated more than 1,500 cases of actual or potential violations of federal regulations, legislation and public codes of conduct and imposed $275,000 in penalties against violators.
  • FCAC developed the Application Guide for External Complaint Bodies to support new federal regulations.
  • The Commissioner issued guidance on certain elements of the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada that apply to payment card network operators around increased disclosure in sales and business practices and cancellation of contracts.
  • Following two years of development and consultation with subject matter experts, FCAC released Your Financial Toolkit, a complete financial education resource for adult learners. Available online, it covers budgeting, saving, taxes and financial planning.
  • FCAC led 57 organizations in Financial Literacy Month through November 2012, which offered 265 financial education workshops, conferences and other activities, plus a video contest for youth.
  • The Agency published two new Life Events for parents and students; new tip sheets, publications and Web content to guide financial consumers.
  • FCAC updated its most popular publication, Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score, as well as the Tax-Free Savings Accounts tip sheet and the guide on Credit Card Balance Insurance.
  • The Research Division launched a number of research projects, including an examination of mobile payments, bank fees and the impact of financial education on Canadians behaviour and attitudes toward money matters.

FCACs material is in demand and well received: in 2012-2013 it distributed over 1.5 million publications in electronic and print form, drew 18,500 views to its YouTube channels, attracted over 3,600 followers on Twitter, reaching over 8 million users in the past two years; traffic on FCACs website grew 109 percent over the previous year, to 1.3 million Web visits, or over 3,600 per day. The Agency answered over 12,000 inquiries and complaints by telephone, email and letters.

The 2012-2013 Annual Report is available online, incorporating a number of interactive features to make it dynamic and reader-friendly. The full report can be seen at its website, itpaystoknow.gc.ca.

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through FCACs Consumer Services Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website: itpaystoknow.gc.ca.

Follow @FCACan on Twitter

Like Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) on Facebook

Like Financial Literacy Month in Canada on Facebook.

Subscribe to FCACan on YouTube

Follow Financial Consumer Agency of Canada on LinkedIn

Join the Financial Literacy in Canada group on LinkedIn.

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Before Getting a Car Loan with Poor Credit

October 24, 2013

Understanding Your Credit Report

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There are steps borrowers with questionable credit can take even before applying for an auto loan that can improve their chances for an approval

Our experience

From our experience the results pretty much speak for themselves when consumers with damaged credit allow themselves time before applying for a car loan to, among other things, check their credit reports and correct any mistakes.

We know this because here at Auto Credit Express weve spent more than two decades helping car buyers with bad credit looking for online car loans find those dealers that can help arrange for car loan approvals.

We also have no problem passing along the advice of others and not long ago we came across an article from the US Governments web portal that does a good job of explaining how to improve credit and credit scores. So here are some excerpts from it:

5 Steps to Help You Improve Your Credit Score

So what should you do if you want to improve or maintain a good credit score? The following tips might help.

1) Request a free credit report

You can request a free copy of your report every 12 months from each of the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The official website to get your free credit report is www.annualcreditreport.com.

2) Understand Your Credit Report

Understanding your credit report will help you make better decisions when it comes to your finances, because your credit score is based on your credit report. It includes personal information about you such as:

o Your payment history.
o How many loans you have and how much you owe.
o If you have ever filed for bankruptcy.

3) Check Your Credit Report

Sometimes information on your credit report might be incorrect or incomplete. Thats why you should check it periodically.

If you do find a mistake, these agencies must:

o Investigate the discrepancy usually within 30 days and correct it if necessary.
o Notify the company that provided the incorrect information.
o Provide you with a free copy of your credit report if changes are made.

The Federal Trade Commission has more detailed information on how to access free credit reports.

4) Pay Your Bills on Time

Paying your bills on time is an important factor in determining your credit score and showing your creditors that you are a responsible consumer. But there are other factors that might impact your credit score:

o Be selective when you apply for credit as too many applications may negatively affect your score.
o Dont go over your credit limits. In fact, it is better to stay well below them.
o Pay down your debt with regular payments.

5) Get Professional Help

A budget might help you pay your bills on time. If you owe too much or are unable to pay your bills, you might want to consider a credit counseling agency. They can help you to manage your finances or figure out a plan to pay off your debt.

Be careful when seeking out these services, they might charge excessive fees and that can put you deeper in debt. The Federal Trade

Commission has more information about credit counseling agencies and how they can help you improve your credit score.

Some advice from us

Sometimes correcting any mistakes and taking other steps doesnt go far enough to qualify borrowers for a traditional car loan.

In these instances, these car buyers should understand that there are probably other options other than a BHPH car loan. Thats because Auto Credit Express specializes in matching consumers with damaged car credit with dealers that can offer them their best opportunities for approved car loans.

So if youre ready to establish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.