The fault that sparked a series of magnitude 7 earthquakes in 1811-12 had been thought dead, but the latest research suggests the region is still alive and kicking.
A North Texas judge has ordered a Fort Worth hospital to remove life support from a woman who is 22 weeks pregnant. Her family says Marlise Munoz is brain-dead; the hospital has cited a state law requiring her to be kept alive.
We know that credit goes way beyond the plastic in our wallets -- from how much debt we carry to paying it off on time. Now, some credit agencies are looking into using our social media information in our credit reports.
Credit expert John Ulzheimer says what we post and who we add as friends on social media can have farer reaching effects than we think. “It’s the whole mantra, birds of a feather tend to flock together. And if you tend to connect with people who are high risk or higher risk borrowers, then the perception is that you are as well. And that’s really where the issue lies.”
It's not hard to figure out why credit agencies would want to know what you're like as a person to decide if you're worthy of a loan or credit card, but, is it legal? Ulzheimer says that remains to be seen. "Whether or not it’s legal really is up to how it is perceived in the Equal Opportunity Credit Act. It has to be built using science.”
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have treasure troves full of information that they could sell, but actually selling personal information could lead to headaches down the road, according to Ulzheimer. “Here is the massive, massive problem that ... social media sites are going to have to deal with. Right now, none of those companies are referred to as a 'consumer reporting agency.' The Fair Credit Reporting Act has a very clear definition of what is a consumer reporting agency. The minute any of these social media sites decide to monetize their information for the purposes of allowing lenders and credit reporting agencies to assess the risk … of consumers, they also become become a consumer reporting agency … you’re going to be in the crosshairs for any number of federal fair credit reporting lawsuits.”
So, should you worry? Ulzheimer says don't go into paralysis over your social media networks, but if there's something you want to remain private, don't post it. "I would just be very careful, that if you’re not willing to tell everybody something, then don’t post it on Facebook, don’t put it on Twitter.”
Sound advice, even beyond credit scores.
Procter and Gamble reported quarterly profits this morning. Turns out they're down 16 percent, in part because sales at Gillette were off, as beards and mustaches are apparently becoming more popular.
Chief Financial officer John Moeller said this to the Financial Times: "While the incidence of facial shaving is somewhat down... the incidence of body shaving is up, and we can take advantage of that."
You can't unhear that.
The attorney general's view could make it easier for marijuana businesses to have bank accounts. But shop owners say they never doubted that banks want a cut of a billion-dollar industry.
By writing the next line, I am basically begging Marketplace Money host Carmen Wong Ulrich to wag her finger in my face: I have only checked my credit score once in life.
It was a couple of years ago when I was making my first major "grown-up" purchase – a car. And I haven’t checked it since. The good news is, when my credit history was run (that one time), it turned up an impressive 780. Yay me! In case you’re not aware of how FICO credit scores are ranked, it goes a little something like this:
But did you know there’s an unlisted category of consumers? People who have a credit score of more than 800: the Credit Elite.
Okay, we made that label up, but these personal finance high achievers deserve their own title, don’t you think? Only about 18 percent of Americans can say they’re in the 800-plus club. Naturally, we wondered what kind of people are credit perfectionists.
We asked on Facebook here and here for folks with an impressive score to tell us about how they achieved it and how much work it takes to maintain credit nirvana. The following is a collection of some of our favorite responses, complete with tips on how to get on their level.
“Being raised on a small family farm, I was taught from a very young age that you don't know if you'll have a crop next year. So you save consistently and live well within your means. This means that I've paid for cars in cash (because i save for them) and only purchase on credit cards what I have the money to pay for right away. My credit score was 804 at last check.”
That being said, I am NOT a homeowner.
“[My credit score is] 830. For years I have had all accounts set up for auto-pay, and have made sure that the money was in the account. Credit cards never carry a balance, and are paid off every month.”
And Meredith (FICO score 806) adds:
“My ‘secret’? Get a credit card early on. Use it sparingly. Pay on time. Pay the balance in full, if possible. The end :)”
They make it sound so simple, don’t they? Well, not everyone who got in touch with us had an easy row to hoe. Cindy in Fishers, Ind., shared her story of how she went from having a mountain of credit card debt to scoring an 820:
And Frederick of San Diego, California readily admits that he probably would have gone down a bad financial path if his mother hadn’t given him a sound financial education:
Now I’m thinking, since I’m so close to being a card-carrying member of the 800 Plus Club, should I strive for credit perfection? Well, maybe I’m already there. Like I said, it’s been a while since I checked my score…
Are you in the Credit Elite? Tell us your story with a comment below or Tweet us your score @LiveMoney with the hashtag #800plusclub.
This year, one lucky little company's professionally produced commercial will air during the Super Bowl's third quarter — all free — thanks to a contest held by the software firm Intuit. The four finalists include an organic egg farm and a natural compost supplier. For Intuit, it's a smart way to drum up more business.