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The Importance of an Emergency Fund

Emergency FundThere's a general rule of thumb when establishing an emergency savings fund: the size of your fund should be equal to at least three months' worth of your living expenses. Take note that it's three months' expenses, not three months of your pay. If it’s possible for you to put aside more than three months’ worth of expenses then you should make it a point to prepare for a time that you may be without a job/monthly income. It is important to prepare for more than three months, if possible, because the economy has changed and job layoffs have become more prevalent, and the time it takes to find another job is getting longer and longer.

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"Produce the Note" in Foreclosure States

Produce the NoteIn some states, a lender can foreclose on your home without going to court.  These are called non-judicial foreclosure states.  You can still use the “Produce the Note” strategy in these states, but it takes a few more steps on your part.

First, the concept behind “Produce the Note” is this:  When a homeowner is faced with a foreclosure suit, “Produce the Note” requires the lender to prove it has the actual authority to foreclose, by requiring it to officially produce the original promissory note in the lawsuit. But if there is no foreclosure lawsuit, what can homeowners do?  In these “nonjudicial foreclosure” states, such as California, Texas, or the thirty or more other states with similar procedures, the homeowner has to file a lawsuit against the party trying to foreclose.

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5 Questions to Help Parents

Helping ParentsParents preparing to send their high school graduates away from home for the first time should remember to pack some financial advice in those college-bound bags, boxes and suitcases.

“Many college campuses will have credit card tables on display at orientation offering giveaways and easy credit,” said Dave Jones, president, Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. “That ‘easy’ credit often becomes ‘uneasy’ debt. Make sure you have a talk about obtaining and using credit with your student before they go.”

AICCCA offers five questions to discuss before moving day:

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ABC's of Credit Reports

Credit ReportChecking your credit score before you apply for a major loan is a must if you want to find out where you stand in terms of credit risk. Yet checking your credit report also proves worthwhile before you put in an application. Put simply, "The credit report is the raw data. A credit score is the result of a formula applied to that credit report information," says Craig Watts, public affairs manager for Fair Isaac Corp., the creator of the FICO score.

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Identity Theft Case

Identity TheftThe Justice Department today announced that 3 men have been indicted in what the Department of Justice calls "the single largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted." Authorities say more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

If you believe that you are a victim and there are fraudulent charges on your existing credit account, contact your creditor immediately about the activity both by telephone and then with a follow-up letter expressly stating the problem.

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