Don’t Make Me Turn This Car Around…!

There are millions of adults who knew the exact moment they turned into their parents.  For many, it was the first time they exclaimed in frustration to their kids in the back seat of the car, “Don’t make me turn this car around!”  Most of us can relate to that admonishment and others in a similar vein like “Don’t make me come back there.”  “If she jumps off a cliff, are you going to jump, too?”  These were used to keep the kids in check during rides in our youth when the family took the traditional cross-country vacation by car.  The frustration with your bratty little brother or sister was real.  The anger was palpable, and the memories are priceless.

“Are we there yet?”  Was another chorus in the Just Wait til We Get Home anthem sung by countless parents on the road during those long days and nights when the ride seemed to take forever and you just knew you’d die from boredom.  But finally, Dad would relent, roll up the windows and turn on the air conditioner, and a fragile peace would ensue, brokered by PBJ sandwiches and cookies.  The automobile has been like the favorite old uncle of the family.  Always a steady presence, ready and willing to help move the family along.  That’s why it can be so hard to live without one.  And why we hate to part with our favorite when it’s time to let it go.   Fortunately, now you can easily buy or replace your favorite ride because it’s easy to qualify for a car loan, and you can do so right from the comfort of your home.  With the online service we provide, you can type in your information and get back a response in no time.

Meanwhile, you can shop online at a store like Express where you’ll find the latest looks kids and teens love, and get your cross country trip planning underway.  Express has teamed up with Groupon to bring you additional savings on their low prices so you’ll have more money for PBJ  and cookies.  You can save as much as 60% off  end of season merchandise and even more off clearance items.  With a few strokes, you can order enough jeans, hoodies, graphic tees and tank tops to keep the peace between nations, and have extra money in the treasury to boot.  So don’t let your kids miss out on those good old fashioned threats of yesteryear.  Contact us now and we’ll get you rolling.   Before you know it, you really will be there.

For example, one mom found it to be the perfect way to shop for the clothes her son needed for his trip to China.  She searched Groupon and found money saving deals for Express, one of his favorite stores.  With a few texts between the them, they worked out the items he wanted, including the skinny jeans, hoodies, graphic tees and shoes for all the events on the schedule.  By the time he came home, she had ordered them in his exact sizes and they were being shipped.   By using Groupon she found she could save as much as 60% off selected merchandise and even more off clearance items, some of which were on his wish list.  And while she was at it, she found the perfect styles to upgrade her look for spring and saved a ton of money as well.

Travel arrangements are handled by the program administrators who worked closely with the parents and teachers.  They explain what the accommodations are, what to do in case of an emergency situation and set guidelines for all to follow.  Once these things are in place, it remains for the student to enjoy the life changing experience and rite of passage to the world stage.

The senior high trip abroad is a tradition that dates back centuries and serves to broaden the horizons for many youths who might not think of travelling outside the United States otherwise.  Many youth are thrilled at the prospect of travelling to a foreign location with classmates.  Parents may see this as the opportunity they could not provide on their own and some even jump at the chance to accompany the class on the journey.  Whether your child goes stag or drag, there are lots of things to consider when the planning starts.

To find the right program, you first take into consideration why they’re going in the first place.  Some students are intent on living and studying abroad for the whole year while others might travel to take part in a special appearance with their choir or theatre department.

Either way, the potential benefits are vast and at the very least, provide the youngster with an unforgettable experience, enhanced perspective, language skills and personal development.  Not every program is going to be study related, and not all will last the same amount of time, but all will require working out a budget to meet the expenses associated with the trip.  And for that, you can turn to the money saving Groupon site to shop for all the essentials your child will need.


Does Your Credit Score Suffer When You Pay Off A Loan Early?

Paid-offIn the world of personal finance, the credit score reigns supreme. Financial providers use it to determine whether you will handle credit properly, insurance companies use it to determine the risk of covering you, and some landlords use it to see if you qualify for an apartment. Because credit scores are so important, it is in your best interest to know how different financial decisions may affect your score. One decision that can impact your score is paying off a loan early.

How Credit Accounts Impact Your Credit Score

Let’s start with a brief explanation of how different credit accounts impact your score. There are five aspects that your credit score is built upon: payment history, debt utilization, length of credit history, new credit, and the types of credit used. A new loan will impact all five at once and lower your score until your first payment has been posted to the credit reporting agencies. Each payment after that will allow your score to grow by showing a history of on-time payments, utilization of an installment credit account, and, as the loan ages, the impact from opening a new account fades.

Credit cards boost or lower your score every month through on-time payments, length of credit history, and debt utilization. The key element here is your debt utilization ratio. If you carry a balance in excess of thirty percent of the credit limit on your cards, your score will suffer. If you maintain a balance that is less than thirty percent, your score will move higher.

Pay A Loan Off Early

Paying off a loan early can both hurt and help your credit score. The help is by lowering your overall debt utilization amount. Debt utilization accounts for nearly one-third of your credit score, so you can see a positive boost from lowering it to be sure. The boost is mainly created by having low credit card balances, not installment loans. The hindrance to your credit score will be in the length of your credit history. Once you pay off a loan, it no longer adds to that length.

One final thought to consider when you are kicking around the idea of paying off a loan early is: What are your future plans in regards to new loans? If you want to apply for any type of loan, lenders are going to look at your debt-to-income ratio or DTI. If your DTI is more than 35 percent of your gross monthly income, you will struggle to get the loan you want. Paying a loan off early will immediately lower your DTI; therefore boosting your future loan opportunities.

Personally, I am for paying off every loan early. This will keep your DTI at its lowest possible point and keep cash free when you need it. If you are worried about the length of your credit history, the best way to boost it is to obtain a credit card and keep that account open.

New Nissan Murano Means More Jobs for Canton-Area Auto Workers

Japanese auto manufacturer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., is preparing to expand production and the size of its workforce at its Canton, MS location. The Canton factory is gearing up to increase capacity by 500 workers to support production of the 2015 Nissan Murano. Production is slated to begin in the fall of 2014. 

Featuring breakthrough design and advanced technology, the Murano will join the Canton plant portfolio as the eighth model to be produced at that location. The Canton factory has grown steadily since it opened 11 years ago, including adding 2000 positions and 6 products just within the last three years. With the addition of 500 more jobs, the facility will boast a workforce over 6000 strong.

Plans to add an onsite supplier in conjunction with the Murano project suggest even more optimism over Nissan’s continued success and growth in the area, which is good news for the area’s economy and workers. Persons interested in working at Nissan’s Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant are encouraged to apply or contact the appropriate office for more information. Or if you’re looking to buy a car in this area, check out our Canton section.

Read the full article here:

Can a Debt Collector Remove Data From Your Credit Report?

Some consumers suffer from the misconception that paying off an account that has gone to collections will improve their credit score. They hold that belief in part because they think that a debt collector is going to remove the negative account from their credit report once the debt is paid in full. Those consumers are most likely wrong on both points.

Collections And Your Credit Report

Whether a collections account is paid or unpaid, it will remain on your credit report for seven years, longer in some states. In some cases the damage is more severe if a debt collector obtained a court order to garnish your wages for the debt. The presence of a collections account means that you are a higher lending risk. There is good news: the damage to your credit score will fade with time.

So, if the account will remain on your credit report for seven years, should you bother paying off the debt or ignore it? There are two reasons to pay the debt. One is that paying off the debt does make you seem like slightly less of a lending risk. The second is that it removes the threat that a debt collector may take the issue to court and seek wage garnishment. In some states, placing a debt in front of the court resets the seven year clock for that debt to be on your credit report, damaging your credit score for even longer.

Is A Debt Collector Able To Remove Data From Your Credit Report?

At one time debt collectors would remove negative accounts from your report if you made it a condition of paying off the debt. That is no longer true. Debt collectors have the ability to do so, they choose not to. Debt collectors rely on the data provided by credit reporting agencies in order to determine which debts are the most collectible. Removing an account from your credit report would damage that source of information.

However, debt collectors recognize that improving your credit score is powerful leverage that can be used to get old debts paid. So, instead of removing data, they will often offer this: You pay the debt, then contest the debt with the credit reporting agencies. For their part, the debt collector will agree not to respond to the inquiry that will come from the agencies. In most cases, if the inquiry is not answered, the negative action will be removed by the credit reporting agencies. It is sort of the long way around, but your goal is still met.

Is It Worth The Aggravation?

Whether all of this is worth the time and aggravation depends on your financial goals. Are you planning to seek a large loan in the near future? If so, the lender will pull your credit reports. Seeing a debt in collection which still has a balance, the lender will factor the debt into your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. With a high DTI you are very likely to be denied the line of credit that you are seeking.

Will Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) Vehicles Change the World? Toyota Says YES

Hydrogen fuel cell cars don’t get the same newsworthy buzz as EVs, simply because the technology seems too far away for any present-day excitement. However, that may be changing. There are at least three HFC concepts in fairly advanced stages of development, as demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year:

  • Honda FCX
  • Hyundai Tucson FCV
  • Toyota FVC

The one we know the most about is the Toyota.  Not only is an attractive piece of machinery–a rarity among alternative fuel vehicles, notwithstanding Teslas–but it will reportedly have a range of 310 miles, with a refueling time of just minutes.  Toyota senior VP Bob Carter has been sounding off on the promise this car holds, saying:

[The FVC] is really going to change our world, sooner rather than later.

Those are serious words from such a high-ranking member of Toyota management.  For this technology to really change the world, however, the price will need to be within reach of mainstream consumers.  This has proved a real challenge for other carmakers, but Toyota is now estimating that the FVC could be priced in the $30K range by the year 2020. If that is indeed the case, and a greater infrastructure of hydrogen refueling stations is creating (an enormous task in and of itself), it’s possible that, a decade from now, hydrogen cars could represent a significant percentage of the vehicles on US roads.

How Long Does it Take to Pay off a Car?

Loan lengths are different, but the exact length of your loan was stated in the original loan contract as required by federal law. Loans may be 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, or even 96 months. At the end of 2012, the average new car loan was over 60 months, so it took five years to pay off a car! Consumers typically opt for longer loan lengths in order to lower their monthly payments. This may seem great, but there are drawbacks, mainly that you will pay more in interest by the time you’ve paid off the loan. To find out how much more you will pay, have a look at our calculator. Additionally, a longer loan means you’ll face negative equity for a longer period.

Preparing for Your Loan

You do not have to take on a 60 month note if you are able to plan for a car loan. First, request your credit reports from the major agencies. You can get them for free at this link: Correct any errors that you find there. Next, you should look at this link ( to discover how FICO builds a credit score. After seeing how a credit score is built, you should address any areas where you are falling short. If you do not have a credit history or have poor credit, you can obtain a credit card to establish a history of on-time payments. If you are denied for ”normal” cards, try a secured credit card. Do not waste your time with a pre-paid or reloadable card. They are not reported to the major credit reporting agencies and will not boost your score. Once you have a card, charge $25 a month, then pay the entire balance in full less than 30 days later. Do that for six months and you will have a credit history and a history of on-time payments.

If you already have a credit card or still have a low score after obtaining one, then you may need to look for specialized financing. There are plenty of options on-line, so you may need to spend some time looking for the company that will offer you the most favorable terms. There are a few caveats that you need to be aware of. Specialized loans for low credit scores come with the cost of a higher interest rate and shorter loan lengths.

Mississippi (Finally) Gets a Tesla–Tesla Flag Now Has 50 Stars!

There are finally 50 stars on Tesla’s flag for there is now at least one of the American electric carmaker’s vehicles registered in each American state.

Guess which state was the last to have a Tesla registered? It was Mississippi. Second-to-last was West Virginia. In total, it only took about 18 months for Tesla to go from no cars registered anywhere to one registered in each state. This is not bad for a company selling a new technology. The Chevy Volt extended-range plug-in needed 11 months to do the same, while the childishly-named Nissan Leaf needed nearly two years to reach that milestone. 

These are good times for Tesla. Its Tesla Model is currently the best-selling plug in the nation. Last year, 22,300 of the sedans were sold with nearly 7,000 being moved in the fourth quarter.

Now back to Jackson, Mississippi. I hope this owner’s office is not all that far from his home because the closest charging station to his hometown is either in Florida or Texas. Both are states that do not share a border with Mississippi.

Of course, if you’re a Jackson resident and want to finance a car–even an electric one–we’d be happy to help.

Investing in Classic Cars–Better Than Gold?

A classic car recently sold for $52 million. Of course, that was a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of only 39 in existence and had won the 1963 Tour de France road race. While that is an astronomical price for an extremely rare car, many people find themselves able to command high prices for their classic American (and Italian and German) steel these days.

Better than Gold…Really?

In fact, Historical Automobile Group International (HAGI), a research firm with expertise in classic cars, calls investing in classic cars “better than gold.” Their indices show that classic cars have outperformed not just gold, but art, wine, and stamps in the last decade, and HAGI has a very interesting graph comparing their top index to the S&P 500 from 1980 to 2008.

In total, classic car prices have doubled since 2008, and various sources have them up by 28-39% in 2013. This may sound like just another bubble, though industry insiders reiterate that because supply is so limited and finite–obviously someone can restore, but never build another 1963 Ferrari GTO–the market has a bright future, especially because there are so many more potential investors/owners than there are properties available.

Classic Cars for the Common Man?

At places like Pebble Beach in California and Amelia Island in Florida, the auction numbers are staggering, with 2013 sales-rates in excess of 90% and average prices in excess of $950,000. Obviously, such prices are beyond the reach of probably anyone who will ever read this article, the author included. However, there are segments of teh market that are very much in reach of the average investor. For instance, Hagerty has an index of the collectible cars priced below $30,000. This includes models such as the 1970 Chevy Camaro, 1965 Ford Mustang, 1972 Porsche 914 Targa, and 1967 VW Beetle–among others. The increased value of these cars since 2009 isn’t too shabby, with a 7.6% return-on-investment in less than five years.

  • April 2009:  $19,700 average value
  • December 2013:  $21,200 average value

Of course, unlike an investment like gold, vintage cars have additional costs. First you have the initial cost of the vehicle. Unless you buy a perfect example of the vehicle, you may have restoration costs–though there is certainly a market for unrestored examples. Still, you have maintenance costs, storage costs, insurance, etc. Additionally, if you intend to finance your purchase, you will have to do so through a specialty lender like JJ Best or Woodside Credit, so factor in interest paid.

On the other hand, most classic cars are not always restored and maintained with an eye to making a profit. They are simply bought for the emotional factor of owning a piece of history or a car from an owner’s youth. Classic cars may be a good investment from an emotional point of view, not just a financial one.