Game Night (trailer)

  Jason Bateman (the “Horrible Bosses” films, TV’s “Arrested Development,” “Ozark”) and Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight,” “Dr. Strange”) team up in New Line Cinema’s action comedy “Game Night.” John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein are directing the film, marking their second film as co-directors, following “Vacation.” Game Night site   GAME NIGHT – Official…

Read More

The post Game Night (trailer) appeared first on The Big Picture.

Car Negotiating Secrets for People Who Hate Haggling

A short stint as a car salesman taught me that dealers are pros who negotiate all day for a living — and they always have the home field advantage. Later, while buying dozens of test vehicles for an automotive website, I was on the other side of negotiations, and experienced the tricks dealers use to…

11 Things Car Dealers Won’t Tell You About Leasing

You need better credit to lease a car than get a loan

Lamp of the blue car

Though it may sound like it should be the opposite, getting a good deal on a lease generally requires excellent credit, explains Mike Ouyang, marketing lead for auto loans with LendingTree in Charlotte. “Financing is more readily available for those with less than stellar credit.” Find out the 34 secret car buying tips your car dealer won’t tell you.

The post 11 Things Car Dealers Won’t Tell You About Leasing appeared first on Reader’s Digest.

3 Reasons Besides Your Credit Score You Could Be Denied for a Loan

Yeah, sure. We all know credit scores are important.

When you’re getting a loan to buy a car or a house, you probably need a good credit score.

You’ll also need good credit if you want to refinance your hard-to-manage student loans or your high-interest credit card debt.

But here’s something to keep in mind: If you get turned down for a loan, your credit score might not be the problem.

In fact, your loan could be denied for lots of other reasons.

Here’s the key: If you understand why your loan application got rejected, you stand a better chance of getting the money from another lender.

In any case, don’t give up. This is not the end. Keep looking for a loan, and the next lender you approach might be more welcoming than the one who said no.

Why You’re Struggling With Loan Approval

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act requires lenders to explain why they rejected your loan, but that explanation might not tell the whole story.

Although a good credit score is important, a recent study by Credible documents nearly two dozen other factors that can trip up borrowers — even those with good credit scores.

Here are three unexpected reasons your loan application might be denied — and what you can do about each:

1. Your Credit Is Thin

Building good credit is a classic Catch-22: You need a good credit history to be approved for new credit accounts, but you need active accounts to build a good credit history. Ha ha! Isn’t this game fun?

If your credit file is thin, check out Upstart, a lender geared toward borrowers who get denied by traditional credit models. That includes the self-employed and young millennials with thin credit.

Upstart evaluates credit risk by analyzing factors including a borrower’s education level, employment and geographic location.

Most Upstart borrowers are refinancing credit card balances on which they’re paying an average of 22% interest, Upstart’s CEO tells Benzinga. Their average age: 28.

You only need a FICO score above 620 to borrow from Upstart, while most lenders don’t consider a credit score “good” unless it hits 650.

To see your credit score and understand more about where you stand, sign up for Credit Sesame, a free service that shows you your TransUnion credit score and explains it to you.

Here are some more ways to start building credit.

2. Your Credit Report Has an Error

A young person checks information on her smartphone.
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

One out of every five credit reports has an error in it, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission.

The three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — are each required to give you a free credit report once a year. You can get all three at once through the federally-authorized site Annual Credit Report.

For example, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you should file a dispute with whichever credit bureau has the error in their records.

Take a look at your credit report and dispute any incorrect information.

3. You Have Too Much Debt Already

The Credible study also found this: The most common reason borrowers get turned down for refinancing loans isn’t their credit score, but their overall debt-to-income ratio — how much of their take-home pay is used to cover their debt each month.

If you’re already deep in debt, you might need to knock down the balance before you apply for your next loan.

With that in mind, here are some creative ways to pay off debt.

Once you’re ready to get a loan, Credible could be a smart place to start. Here’s how it helped two grad students tackle more than $50,000 in loans each.

Credible is an online marketplace for personalized loan offers. Rates start at 5.99%, with loan amounts ranging from $500 to $40,000. Think of it like Zillow — but for personal loans.

Get the Loan Next Time

So there are three likely reasons your loan application got denied.

Remember, if you understand the reason, you stand a better chance of getting the money from another lender.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He knows a lot about debt, based on his totally fun personal experience with it.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Do You Know Why Your Portfolio Underperformed?

Do you feel like you’ve done everything right but your portfolio just doesn’t seem to perform?

How hard can it be? By low sell high…right?

If you’re managing your own portfolio, you aren’t alone. Wealthfront found that 25% of U.S. individuals manage their portfolio.

Managing your portfolio isn’t a sign that you’ll have an underperforming portfolio.

There can be only a factors that play into underperformance or many.

Do You Know Why Your Portfolio Underperformed?

But what leads to an underperforming portfolio when the market is constantly rising? In this article, we’ll explore several reasons why a portfolio might underperform.

Underperformed Relative To?

When a portfolio underperforms, it does so in comparison to some benchmark. Often, this is the S&P 500 Index.

For the last three years, the annual performance for the S&P 500 Index has been:

  • check

    2015: 1.38%

  • check

    2016: 11.96%

  • check

    2017: 20.49%

I’ve you’ve come in below those numbers for each of the above years, your portfolio has underperformed relative to the S&P 500. Compared to bond funds, you outperformed in 2016 and 2017.

We’ll look specifically at reasons a portfolio may have underperformed the S&P 500.

Underinvested

For investors who went through the financial crisis of 2007/2008, you can’t blame them for being cautious. Since the crisis, the S&P 500 has returned 7.8%, according to FactSet.

Sitting on the sidelines will have a negative impact on your portfolio’s performance during periods of overall positive market returns. Let’s say you were 90% in a money market fund and 10% in a bond fund during 2016 and 2017. 

You were basically 90% in cash, which won’t beat a market with positive returns. Bonds returned less than 4% from 2015 to 2017.

Underinvested can also mean being in low return investments. Usually, this is another way of stating that a portfolio is conservative.

For example, if you had invested 100% in bonds, we’ll use the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Investor Shares (VBMFX), your returns would have looked like this:

  • check

    2015: 0.30

  • check

    2016: 2.50

  • check

    2017: 3.46

According to Morningstar. In that case, you would have underperformed relative to the S&P 500 Index.

Portfolio Managers, Managed Funds And High Fees

Even if someone else is managing your portfolio or you are picking managed funds, there’s no guarantee these managers will beat the market. 

While an S&P 500 Index fund will track the S&P Index, a managed fund makes its trades trying to at least equal the S&P 500. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and the fund returns less than its benchmark.

The same is true of a portfolio manager. Meaning, some one who manages your portfolio and trades on your behalf. Often, this is a financial advisor. They can and do under perform a benchmark as well.

High fees are another reason a portfolio will underperform. Even if your portfolio manages to return the same amount as the benchmark (i.e., S&P 500), high fees will erode your returns, pushing overall performance below the benchmark.

Market Timing

After sitting on the sidelines for a while and watching the market constantly rise, you decide to finally jump in, only to see the market immediately nose dive.

After a while of consistent down days, you decide to sell, only to watch the market resume its ascent. Certainly, this is unlucky timing.

While 2016 and 2017 were mostly up through out the year with only minor pullbacks, jumping in at the end of 2015, when the S&P 500 was at 2016, you would have watched it fall for a couple of months down to 1852. Bailing out there would have definitely had an impact on your returns for 2016.

Trying to chase too much performance can also be problematic. Ken Heise, a financial advisor with Heise Advisory Group in St. Louis, says, “You should have a purpose when you invest. There’s no reason to take a downside risk that’s higher than you’re comfortable with if you don’t need that high of a return.”

Higher returns can often mean higher risk. If you end up with too much of the risk side of those returns, you can realize not only underperformance but negative returns (i.e., below 0% returns).

Poor Performing Sectors and Countries

Being too heavily invested in an underperforming sector or country will reflect in the underperformance of your portfolio.

In 2017, the two worst sectors, according to Fidelity were:

  • check

    Telecommunications service: -5.75%

  • check

    Energy: -2.09%

For 2017, Morningstar found that the following countries were poor performers:

Do You Know Why Your Portfolio Underperformed?

Is There A Solution?

Don’t beat yourself up if returns weren’t what you expected. The average investor made just over 5% in 2016, according to Openfolio.

Diversifying your portfolio into various sections and not overweighting in anyone can help reduce risk. Because you’re in different sectors, it will also help returns.

Has your portfolio ever underperformed? Did you find out why?

The post Do You Know Why Your Portfolio Underperformed? appeared first on The College Investor.

How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win

Gina Raimondo is one of just 15 Democratic governors in the country. (Gina Raimondo/Flickr)

Season 7, Episode 25

This week on Freakonomics Radio: Gina Raimondo, the governor of tiny Rhode Island, has taken on unions, boosted big business, and made friends with Republicans. She is also one of just 15 Democratic governors in the country. Would there be more of them if there were more like her?

To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win” and “Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten.”

You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple Podcasts or elsewhere, or get the RSS feed.

The post How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win appeared first on Freakonomics.