Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fix Your Credit Now With These Easy Tips

Many people are almost out of high school before learning anything about their credit. Some never learn about their credit - how to protect or repair it. This article can help anyone, whether you never learned, or just need a refresher about credit repair.

The first step to repairing your ailing credit is to create a manageable, feasible financial plan. You need to change your past habits and build new, better approaches to credit. Limit your purchases only to things that are absolutely necessary. Ensure that you can afford everything you buy and that you really need it.

Open a secured credit card to start rebuilding your credit. It may seem scary to have a credit card in hand if you have bad credit, but it is necessary for increasing your FICO score. Use the card wisely and build into your plans, how to use it as part of your credit rebuilding plan.

If you have been repairing your credit for a while and have been paying responsibly, ask your credit card company to raise your credit limit. Debt utilization, the ratio of your debt to your credit limit, is one factor that determines your credit score. If you get a limit increase, then that ratio will be lower, making you appear to be a lower credit risk.

Make sure to make your payments on time when you subscribe to a phone service or a similar utility. Most phone companies ask you to pay a security deposit when you sign a contract with them. By making your payments on time, you can improve your credit score and get the deposit that you paid back.

For the best credit score possible, you should apply for multiple cards and make sure you do not use more than 20% of the available balance on each card. Pay off all your cards before applying for a new one. By not going over 20%, you are not damaging your credit and not raising the interest rate.

For a good credit history, you should limit the number of credit inquiries. One inquiry does not damage your score significantly, but if a financing agency notices too many inquiries, the agency might not accept your application. Limit the number of applications you send out and always ask in advance if your credit score is going to be checked.

When attempting to repair your credit, start by getting your 3-in-1 credit report. You need this first to see where your credit stands in the grand scheme of things. Once you know your scores, you can figure out better choices to make to help raise them and to attempt to repair your credit.

If you are trying to improve your credit score, it may be helpful to set up a direct debit to pay your monthly bills. Direct debit will ensure that you never miss a payment due to being out of town or simple inattention. Also, if you use direct debit to make the minimum payment, you can add to that payment any time without feeling additional pressure.

An important tip to consider when working to repair your credit is to know what goes into calculating your credit score. This is important to know because it is composed of a complicated series of calculations that judge your score based on a large amount of variables. What is most important to know is that will take a long time to build your score up, however it can quickly drop if you do not pay your bills or default on a loan.

Know your rights when dealing with the credit bureaus. When you file a dispute over an error, the credit bureau has 30 to 45 days to investigate the error. If the mistake is confirmed, or if the creditor does not respond to the investigation, then the error must be removed from your report. This is your right, and you need to remember that.

The easiest way to repair credit is by ensuring that one never has to repair their credit score. By avoiding anything that can damage one's credit rating, they will also avoid having to do anything to try to repair it. Keeping a clean track record can be the best option.

If you are looking to build credit then you should get a short term installment loan. These are small loans that can usually be paid back with small, automatic payments. They look very good on your credit report and they will not be very hard to pay back.

To make sure your credit score improves, avoid new late payments. New late payments count for more than past late payments -- specifically, the most recent 12 months of your credit history is what counts the most. The more late payments you have in your recent history, the worse your credit score will be. Even if you can't pay off your balances yet, make payments on time.

The first step to getting your credit repaired is to order your credit reports. You need one from each of the three bureaus. If you have been denied credit recently, then you are entitled to a free copy. If you have not been denied, then you may have to pay for a copy to be mailed to you.

One good and easy way to repair your credit is to establish new credit. Establishing new credit can boost your credit score in just a short amount of time. Getting new credit is fairly easy with a secured credit card that will report to all three credit bureaus.

Ask around to close friends or family to see if someone is willing to co-sign with you on a loan or credit card. Make sure the amount is small as you don't want to get in over your head. This will give you a file on your credit report so that you can start building a positive payment history.

So, aren't you glad you took a few minutes to learn or remind yourself about credit repair? Remember it is never too late to apply the suggestions provided to protect or repair your credit.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The university built to defend democracy

John Shattuck says democracy faces challenges and questions not asked since the fall of the Berlin Wall In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communist regimes in Europe, a unique university was created.


It was going to be a laboratory for democracy.


George Soros, the Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist, funded the creation of the Central European University, with the specific aim of promoting the values of an open society and democracy.


The university in Budapest in Hungary is still going strong, with graduate students from more than 100 countries studying courses taught in English.


But the challenges have changed. If the university was created on a rising tide of democracy, it now has to examine liberal values under pressure. In parts of Eastern Europe, the voices of authoritarianism and nationalism are getting louder.


The president of the Central European University is John Shattuck, an American human rights lawyer, law professor, diplomat and former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration.


‘Horrific ideologies’


The university, he says, was founded to “resuscitate and revive intellectual freedom” in parts of Europe that had lived for decades under the “horrific ideologies” of communism and fascism.


The university occupies a building that has been an aristocrat’s palace and Communist-run offices


But if Budapest is a crossroads between Eastern and Western Europe, he says that we’re now living in an era approaching its own crossroads.


“We’re in another period of time, which is as disruptive and complicated as it was in 1991 when the university was founded.”


The financial crash, the loss of confidence in party politics in the West, the rise of the “Putin model” of government, the weakness of international institutions are all raising “a set of questions that haven’t been asked for 25 years”.


“We see very dangerous trends at work,” he says, such as the rise of “xenophobia” and antagonism towards immigrants.


The university is addressing some of these big questions in a project called “frontiers of democracy”. What does freedom mean in an era of digital information? What is the place for local identity in a globalised economy? How can an open society be defended?


It also wants to put principles into practice. There is a university access project for students from the Roma community. A digital learning project is opening up debates and the idea of free speech with universities in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Kazakhstan.


This is an institution with departments with titles such as the Centre for the Study of Imperfections in Democracies.


Insecurity


Prof Shattuck says too many universities have lost a sense of moral purpose.


There are students from over 100 nationalities, student union president Shirlene Afshar Vogl is from the US


The pressure on funding has turned universities into places turning out products rather than ideas, he says. It means students are not being exposed to the “traditions of democracy and political philosophy”.


Prof Shattuck says the challenge is to “understand what is appealing about a more authoritarian approach, why racism is re-emerging”.


He believes it is driven by “fear of change, fear of economic retrenchment… and when you feel insecure you want someone to solve your problems without having to think about them yourself”.


“Or you start demonising, making immigrants the targets. This is what happens in society.”


Prof Shattuck says he remains an optimist. He has faith that an open society in the end will prove the most successful and efficient. He believes in the capacity of law to hold powers to account.


As a young lawyer he put this in to practice, successfully suing Richard Nixon for wiretapping in 1976. He also worked on the legal pursuit of human rights violations in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.


‘Illiberal democracy’


But there is no escaping the sense that some old and uncomfortable ghosts are coming back to life.


Wolfgang Reinicke says democracy is in “deep crisis”


In Hungary, the prime minister has promoted the idea of an “illiberal democracy”, looking eastwards to Russia rather than westwards to the European Union.


There are even more extreme ultra-nationalist voices, with the Jobbik party growing in strength.


Wolfgang Reinicke, dean of the university’s school of public policy, says the traditional model of Western democracy is in “deep crisis”.


“It was easy to look good,” he says, when the contrast was with the Berlin Wall. But in the following decades it has become more difficult for democracies to remain relevant and representative.


The university is based near the Danube in the centre of Budapest


“We had the audacity and the hubris when the Soviet Union collapsed to bask in our victories, without realising that it was not the end of history – and the problems were only about to begin.”


He warns that too often national governments lack the capacity to control a globalised economy and sophisticated financial markets. It means they run along behind events, looking more and more powerless and discredited, only able to offer “crisis management”.


Politics of prosperity


The city is a reminder that there is nothing inevitable about what happens next. There are Turkish, Austro-Hungarian and Soviet era buildings, from regimes that must have seemed permanent but were swept away.


The university is running an access programme for Roma students


The university occupies a building that began as an aristocrat’s palace before becoming state-owned offices for a planned socialist economy. It’s now filled with the American English accents of bright young cosmopolitan students.


In the university’s business school, the dean, Mel Horwitch, says many of the debates about the future of democracy now lie within the business sphere. An open society needs to deliver.


“When you throw off an authoritative regime there’s all this hope,” he says, but without prosperity there will be “profound disappointment”.


“If you have a stagnant economy, if you’re not competitive, it doesn’t work.”


Mel Horwitch says a successful democracy needs to deliver prosperity


There was euphoria after the wall fell, but not much business strategy, he says. And in the financial crash, Hungary’s fledgling market economy was hit harder than the bigger, more resilient Western financial centres.


“It had a much more permanent, pessimistic impact,” says Prof Horwitch.


The country is “stuck” economically and now has to navigate a more “volatile world”.


The university is looking for ways for the region to compete. It’s setting up a course in managing big data, wanting Budapest to become a knowledge hub like Boston, London or Berlin.


Many of the students at the university were not even born when the Berlin Wall fell. And their debates are about how democracy works in an age of Twitter and identity politics. How much have the economic problems of free markets raised doubts about the political value of free speech?


A student from Norway says she grew up in an era of prosperity, but now sees a changing landscape. “You realise how vulnerable democracy is.”


View the original article here

Friday, November 21, 2014

How China has fallen in love with private education

(CNN) — In China it’s known as gaokao — the college entrance exams — and for most young people it dictates the course of a life.


A good score in the gaokao will open the doors to the country’s most prestigious universities, granting access not only to the best education and the chance to work overseas but also to an elite Rolodex of upper-echelon contacts.


Chinese society, more than any other, is predicated on its networks, or guanxi, and grooming them is a lifetime’s work.


For those that miss out on their gaokao, the years of tutoring and months of cramming could mean relegation to a provincial university and the oblivion of a major city “ant colony” — the shared dormitory accommodation that awaits graduates trying to find work in China’s urban centers.


For others hoping to escape the ineluctable cycle of the gaokao, overseas study is only possible through a limited number of scholarships or rich parents.


Increasingly, however, Chinese private schools — with British A-level exams and the International Baccalaureate — are geared towards giving the children of the middle class the edge when it comes to gaining a place at a foreign university.


“What we are talking about here really are the upper middle class and above — people who are aware of what education systems are like in other parts of the world,” said Michel Hockx, Professor of Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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