Like most people with appointments, for me, waiting is the epitome of annoyance. As I sit impatiently waiting for my appointment, I think about the millions of people who don’t have access to proper healthcare. Why do we expect our healthcare providers to be ready and take us on time? What’s the big deal if we have to wait just a few more minutes to be seen? Why is it okay for us to make the next person wait while we ponder our forgotten last minute questions?
This scenario reminded me of a summer job I had while in college. I worked for a non-profit who represented car dealers. At that time, the major car company put out a set of rules dealers had to follow otherwise they would not receive their escrow payout. They would have to sell a certain number of cars, extend “superior” service to their customers and would have to change their service department rules. For example, if I had made an appointment two months ago for an oil change and Mr. X came in without an appointment, they would have to take both of us at the same time. So what is the point of making an appointment? If the car dealers did not follow this rule, then they would not get their payment. So would that work with chiropractors, dentists, doctors, massage therapists? I think not.
We have let the fast paced lifestyle America has raised us in to overtake our daily lives. Stress is the number one factor in common with nearly every illness. Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, just to name a few are all stress related. We need to take a step back and not get caught up in the hullabaloo. Make your appointments ahead of time, leave earlier than you should for the appointment, keep track of any questions or concerns you have for your doctor and finally GO. The worst is when you make the appointment and cancel, go late or are a no show. You just stole time from someone’s schedule, prevented that doctor from helping another patient (and getting paid too) and lost your credibility with your healthcare professional.
Our health is so important to a fulfilling life that we take it for granted. I bet somewhere in an Iraqi, Tanzanian or Indian village, someone is just dying to get an appointment and wait two hours to be seen by a doctor for “mediocre” healthcare. No pun intended.
Hi, everyone! So, I’m sure all of you have had some issues with credit in some way. Whether it’s bad credit, not having any credit or not knowing/understanding anything about credit, this is a topic that we all will face eventually because to really accomplish the “American Dream,” we all need credit of some kind.
Now, I’m not going to pretend to be a financial guru as my background is in linguistics/languages/publishing etc. but I do want to impart some knowledge that I’ve gathered through my experience over the past few months.
I don’t have bad credit, per se. I simply don’t have enough credit history to qualify as having the best of the best credit. I never took out a credit card while I was in high school or college. I always just used my debit/ATM/check card to make any purchase I didn’t have cash on me for. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I avoided overspending and had very few overdrafts. However, using a card linked to a checking account does not impact your credit score at all.
Everyone has his or her own credit score. This score determines whether or not you will be approved for credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc. Three different companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) come up with your score based on your credit report. This report essentially details your history using any kind of credit and includes things like student loans and store credit cards.
What negatively impacts your score? Obviously, making late payments and delinquency (not paying at all) will lower your score considerably since it shows that you are not being responsible with your finances. Also, applying for too many credit cards or loans at the same time can lower your score (every time you apply, the grantor is required to check out your credit report which slightly reduces your credit score).
Making payments on time (and early are even better) show up on the report and reflect well on your behalf. This will help get you a higher score. The higher your score the better off you are as you’ll be able to qualify for better/premium cards with lower interest rates which will save you a lot of money in the long run (think thousands of dollars for a mortgage).
Something I wish I had done differently when I was still in college would be to open up a credit card. I know it seems counterintuitive, but if you are able to make payments on time and not exceed your credit limit, this helps build your credit. Not having that many credit lines keeps your credit score low, too. If I had gotten a card and made all my payments on time (if not early) as a college student, by now my credit score would be much higher because it would show multiple years of good behavior. Also, when you have a card for a longer amount of time, your credit limit is usually increased over specific increments of time. The higher your overall credit limit in general, the higher your credit score will be.
In general, these are some tips that I wish someone had told me earlier about building my credit:
• Get a credit card in college. Use it sparingly. It doesn’t have to have any incentive program with points or anything, as long as the credit limit is not fixed at a specific number and can increase with time and good spending habits.
• Store credit cards are still credit cards. If you use them the right way, they can also help boost your credit score. Make sure you take them seriously and pay your bills early and often.
• Don’t close out a credit card. Doing so will lower your average time using credit which limits your credit history and lowers your credit score. Better to just not use the credit card or keep it for emergencies than to get rid of it forever.
• Don’t max out your credit cards. If you do, you’re using too much of your available credit which will temporarily lower your credit score. Most companies prefer not using more than 30% of your available credit (I.E. If you have a $1,000 limit, try not to have a balance of over $300)
• You can always dispute an inaccurate mark on your credit report. If something negative (like missing a payment) shows up on your report, you can contact the agency (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) and inform them of the mistake. The older the negative mark was, five years+, the more likely they will remove it from your credit report, thereby increasing your score.
Well, that’s all I have for now. I recently got my very first credit card and am working on building my credit so that I can eventually upgrade to a better card with points and travel perks. In the meantime, I’m making sure to pay my balances early and not fall into traps that happen so easily. Good luck, everybody!
Happy New Year, Everyone! Well, it’s that time of year again, that is, it’s the beginning of it! And most people are excited at the prospect of starting it off right and making good choices. I know I am.
Countless people make annual resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking or somehow better their lives in some way. And this is a good thing. I know I’ve made conscious New Year’s Resolutions in the past, some of which I was more successful in up keeping and others not so much.
It can be really frustrating when you start with the intention of following something through and midway through the process you lose momentum. It’s completely normal and to be expected. However, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves for not being able to singlehandedly take on the world’s problems and be finished in a week. We need to set realistic, attainable goals.
What I mean is that sometimes, and I know that I have done this in the past, we try to set a really high bar and when we are not making the gains we want when we want, we give up. Instead, it’s much more effective to aim for a reachable goal, maybe even breaking up our ultimate goal into more digestible segments.
Example. Let’s say your long-term goal is to get a new car. Instead of just setting the arbitrary goal of making the purchase and driving a new car in one week (unrealistic), set a bunch of mini milestones to help you along the way. Don’t worry about the ultimate “deadline” for having the car, start off with giving yourself a week to decide whether it makes more sense for you to get a used or new car. Set a date to have chosen your top picks on a new car. Next plan a specific date to come up with the funds. Set a time to go to different dealerships after discussing your options and making a decision.
If you approach your personal goals this way, the endeavor doesn’t seem so daunting. It’s no longer a matter of doing one huge undertaking in a one-shot deal; instead it’s a few small and easy to manage tasks. This goes for trying to lose weight (setting 5 pound incremented milestones periodically) and any other resolution you may have. To be honest, you can apply this concept to any time of the year. While it’s great that the New Year helps motivate people to accomplishing their goals, there’s no reason to not be able to motivate yourself in June or October.
I met someone who once imparted to me some very inspirational words of wisdom. Simple and straightforward but highly effective, “A new day is a new chance.” How right she was, we can reinvent ourselves everyday! We don’t necessarily need the new year to give us that opportunity, when we have it every time we wake up.
One of my resolutions: to get more blogs out for you guys!