40% of Americans will never gain a net worth in excess of
Source: American Dream Education Campaign
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Blame it on Drama Queen Irma.
She’s like a teenage girl
screaming “Pay attention to me, and only me!”
Just as I
predicted in this newsletter two weeks ago, the media has been
so obsessed with Hurricane Irma in Florida that they virtually
forgot about the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
And the largest fire in Los Angeles history barely got any
coverage at all.
Even though these catastrophes were of
historic proportion, most Americans who don’t live in L.A.,
Texas, or Florida weren’t directly affected by them.
What almost got lost in all of this was another catastrophe was so large that it will impact you for the rest of
So, on a scale of 1-10, how knowledgeable
would you consider yourself? Let’s find out by having you answer
three simple questions:
Question 1: What was
this epic event that will directly impact you for the rest of
Answer: Equifax reported the largest data breach in history.
There’s a very GOOD chance some very BAD guys got your
Social Security number, credit card numbers, address, date of
birth, and even driver’s license number last week.
Question 2: Exactly how will this affect you?
Answer: They can change your address with the IRS, file
phony tax returns, and get refunds in your name.
can apply for your Social Security benefits.
open credit cards in your name, max them out, and not pay. You
won’t know this happened until debt collectors come
after you. When you refuse to pay, the credit card company will
threaten to sue you and garnishee your wages.
you’ll probably get the case dismissed, having debt
collectors hounding you for money you don’t owe will make your
But it can get worse.
Creditors can report you to the credit bureaus for unpaid debts,
which will lower your credit score. This can prevent you from
getting a car loan or mortgage.
Even if you never apply
for another loan, your existing credit card company can raise
your interest rate when they see a significant drop in your
Even if you’re a Dave Ramsey follower who
never borrows money and has no debt, this can still cost you. Your homeowner’s insurance company can jack up your
premiums, or even cancel you altogether when they see a
significant drop in your credit score.
Question 3: What should you do to protect yourself?
First, pull a copy of your credit report from all three
credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) by going to
www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You’re entitled to one per year
at no charge, and it won’t affect your credit score.
Second, put a security freeze on your accounts so that no new
accounts can be opened in your name. There is a charge for this
in some states, but it’s usually in the $3 - $10 range. If you
later apply for a loan, you can lift the freeze so that the
lender can run a credit report on you.
Third, check your
Social Security benefits statement at
consider using a credit monitoring service.
If you want
to be a great company to work for, share this with your
employees. No employer wants its employees having their
If you want to see how literate someone is about basic
personal finance, ask them this simple question: “What’s the
difference between your credit report, and your credit score?”
You’ll be SHOCKED at how many people don’t know.
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