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Rapids Blog

Understand Credit Scores

Credit Score graphic

Your credit score is a vital part of your financial history. Lenders and other organizations use it to understand how much of a risk you are regarding financial matters and repaying your debts. Understanding how your credit score is made up and the typical ranges and ratings can help you gain insight into your creditworthiness and allow you to make improvements. Your credit score comes from several distinct but related areas that make up your credit history; these areas are combined to calculate your overall score.

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Funding IRAs

Retirement change jar

An individual retirement account, or IRA, is a powerful tool for retirement savers, but putting the money aside is not always easy. The contribution limits for these accounts keep rising, but that doesn't help if you have no money to save. So how do you put more money into your IRA? How can you maximize the tax benefits of these fantastic accounts? Here are some creative strategies to help you put more into your IRA this year.

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Personal Finance Hacks

Reviewing bills with calculator

When it comes to personal finance, everyone knows you should tackle your debts, avoid unnecessary expenses, and budget wisely. But certain expenses just can't be avoided. Things like rent, utility bills, and essential weekly costs like food are bound to cost you money. However, with some smart planning, you'll be surprised at how much you can save. Here are five personal finance life hacks to reduce your living costs.

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Paying Credit Card Debt

Couple reviewing credit card statement

There are many benefits to focusing on paying down debt. Paying off consumer debt protects your financial stability. Plus, less debt means less money spent on interest charges, extra funds for other necessities, money to put into savings, or to use on discretional spending. Below are a few simple ways to lower your credit card debt in April (and for the rest of the year).

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Preparing Taxes

Preparing for Taxes

This month, we focus on preparing for taxes. The tax deadline (May 17th this year) is almost here, and you should have been receiving tax documents from your employers, financial institutions, and vendors. If you haven’t started yet, this is the perfect time to get organized, get going, and get your taxes filed. After all, if you have a refund coming, the sooner you get your refund in, the sooner you will see that money.

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Personalized Path to Financial Success

Path in the woods

No matter what financial freedom means to you, the road to this destination is not easy. It is best to think of the road to financial freedom as a series of small steps instead of a sprint to the finish line. You may dream of winning the lottery and quitting your job the next day, but that is unlikely to happen. If you want to pursue financial freedom on your terms, you need to start with a realistic goal.

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Benefits of Delaying Retirement

Woman in the park

Some anticipate retirement years as a time for new adventures, travel, and pursuing postponed hobbies. Approximately half of working Americans retire between the ages of 61 and 65. For a growing number of seniors, delaying retirement is becoming more common. Some people delay out of financial necessity, while others delay for social or personal reasons. If you are considering delaying your retirement, there are a few possible benefits of holding off retirement even for a short time.

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Tips to Eliminate Debt

Couple reviewing bills

According to the Federal Reserve, American credit card debt was nearly one trillion dollars at the end of the third quarter of 2020. This considerable amount of consumer debt means that many families need strategies to help them get out of debt. If you feel overwhelmed by your current financial situation, you need to understand that you are not alone. We have identified eight strategies that you can use to help you reduce your debt load and get your financial situation back on track.

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Avoid Outliving Your Money

Ladies dancing

Welcome back to our next installment of our Senior Series. This month, we talk about how to ensure your retirement funds last as long as you need. If you are like most American workers, you will likely be responsible for saving most of the money you will need for retirement. That's because many companies have replaced defined-benefit (or pension) plans with defined-contribution (or 401k) plans. Furthermore, Social Security will only cover a fraction of the income you will likely need after retirement. Here are our favorite tips on how to avoid outliving your money during retirement.

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Avoid Pandemic Scam

Scam alert sign

Scammers and con artists capitalize on events such as pandemics to take advantage of vulnerable people. The most attractive targets are those that are alone and fearful. Pandemic scams can come in many forms, but generally, scammers either try to ask you for your money directly or try to get your personal information so that they may access your money. Here are three common scams identified during the pandemic for you to watch out for.

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