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Francis Church

Nine ways to sabotage your own credit score

I’m working hard to improve my credit score these days. In the past I was a bit of a bad boy when it came to paying bills – so I’ve been looking into what will kill your credit score, and fast. Real fast. But just so you know: a good credit score is 500 or more on the scale of 0 to 1,000. Most of us Aussies sit between 400 to 600. Over 800 is brilliant. Anything less than 400 is…

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Cyber security
Fighting fraud: How biometrics and artificial intelligence are helping to keep you safe online

Once upon a time bank robbers needed guns and balaclavas. Today a mouse and keyboard can be more dangerous. Every year too many Aussies are defrauded by cyber criminals, resulting in annual losses of more than $2b, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology. One common fraud method is ‘phishing’, where the victim clicks on what looks like a genuine email from a company such as their bank, an online trading site, or another organisation. Except that it’s not their…

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Swiping right on Tinder? Watch out for STDs. (That’s Sexually Transmitted Debts)

It’s the great untold illness of personal finance. That’s sexually transmitted debts (STDs). It’s bad enough to build up your own debt. But when you shack up with someone else you often take on their debt as well. It’s easy to do. You spot someone across the bar, or on Tinder. The next thing you’re wildly in lust and then you become one. Bet you didn’t ask how big his or her debt was before falling head over heels for…

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Set up ninja bill payment systems, manage your finances and put your life on ‘automatic’. Here’s how

Ouch. You’ve just been pinged with failed automatic payment and a $20 dishonour or unarranged overdraft fee. Come on. Admit it. You’ve paid extra fees or failed to get prompt payment discounts for bills that you knew were coming up but failed to pay. That’s just throwing money down the toilet and possibly damaging your credit history.  My own bill payment system is failsafe for me. Everyone is different, however, and there is more than one way to skin this…

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Man sitting on beach reclining with laptop
Nudge, nudge, wink wink – how to nudge yourself to better money management

You know you need to change your financial ways. But it’s hard to actually do it. Just imagine standing at an EFTPOS terminal about to make a financial blunder and someone nudges you into making a better choice. A nudge is like having a little conscience sitting on your shoulder. Behavioural economists have found that tiny regular nudges that prod you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise can be a real game changer when it comes to mastering your money.…

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Are you a victim of lifestyle inflation? Our 10 (very honest) principles will help you beat the disease

Once upon a time I used to head to the nearest bakery or fruit shop for cheap lunch. A 50c bread roll or banana was sustenance enough to keep me going until I got home to have a decent balanced meal. Bit by bit over the years my bun and fruit habit evolved into buying $10 packs of sushi when I’m caught short without a packed lunch. Why? Because like virtually every person alive I can fall into ‘lifestyle inflation’.…

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Young, single, and on a budget? Skip the mistakes that others make

You’re young, single and on a budget. It’s hard being a ‘yadult’ sometimes. But life’s a lot more fun if you’re not stressing about the power being cut off. Take some tips from others’ mistakes and skip the ‘shoulda known better’ stage of your financial future. Here’s how: Have a spending plan. That’s a budget, but if you think of it as spending plan it doesn’t feel like a torture device. The idea is that you get a pen and…

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Parents behaving badly: How parents’ money habits can rub off on the next generation

The concept of ‘monkey see, monkey do’ is alive and well in Aussie families, and that includes when it comes to our parents’ habits with money. When parents behave badly with money, guess what their children do? As a parent, your role modelling is one of the most powerful indicators of how well your children will survive financially. Whether your children are two or 20 you can set them a better example. Don’t see money and spend it Do you see money…

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