Credit cre­ation

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK -

DEAR HELOISE >> I’m in­ter­ested in BUILD­ING MY CREDIT SCORE. What’s a good first step?

— Con­ner T., age 18, Tra­verse City, Mich.

DEAR CON­NER T. >> Con­ner, ku­dos to you for look­ing to­ward the future. A good credit score can help you rent an apart­ment, get a mort­gage or ob­tain an auto loan. A po­ten­tial em­ployer may check your credit, too.

A good first step is a se­cured credit card. What is the card se­cured by? A cash de­posit you make — usu­ally at least a cou­ple hun­dred dol­lars. You charge prod­ucts and ser­vices on the card and make reg­u­lar pay­ments. This type of credit card is to show you can han­dle the re­spon­si­bil­ity of a credit card and is meant to be used tem­po­rar­ily.

If you don’t pay the en­tire amount in full each month, an in­ter­est charge is added. When you pay off and close your se­cured credit card, you’ll get your cash de­posit back.

There’s more to know about se­cured credit cards. Ask your neigh­bor­hood bank or credit union for more in­for­ma­tion.

DEAR READ­ERS >> Did you know that a typ­i­cal smart­phone has about 64 GB of mem­ory? That’s enough to hold around 200 apps.

Check your avail­able mem­ory un­der the “Set­tings” tab.

DEAR READ­ERS >> If your child or grand­child says, “My stom­ach hurts,” it may not be a stom­achache at all. It may be anx­i­ety. Kids are un­der tremen­dous stress these days: grades, peers, af­ter­school ac­tiv­i­ties, on­line post­ings, etc.

Kids are over­whelmed with a lot of in­for­ma­tion and, maybe, not a lot of wis­dom.

Rest­less­ness, ag­i­ta­tion, bit­ing them­selves, avoid­ance of peo­ple, melt­downs and con­stant stom­ach is­sues — these might be signs that a ther­a­pist should be called.

P.S. Don’t dis­count med­i­ta­tion and yoga. These ac­tiv­i­ties can help as well.

DEAR HELOISE >> What hap­pens to my hus­band’s debt when he passes away?

— Ca­role B. in Cal­i­for­nia

DEAR CA­ROLE B. >> Ca­role, big ques­tion! It de­pends on the na­ture of the debt, and laws vary by state. A mort­gage on a prop­erty typ­i­cally has to be paid, or the prop­erty sold to sat­isfy the debt.

Un­se­cured debt (i.e., credit cards) does not have to be paid from life in­sur­ance pro­ceeds, etc. Med­i­cal bills might be for­given, or they can be con­sid­ered the spouse’s re­spon­si­bil­ity. It can de­pend on your state’s laws.

Sit down with a fi­nan­cial plan­ner and make sure you both have a will.

P.S. Don’t be in­tim­i­dated by col­lec­tors who may call you. They can be ag­gres­sive.

DEAR HELOISE >> I had no idea resumes were be­ing screened by AI (ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence) these days, as you men­tioned in a re­cent col­umn.

Twenty-five years ago when our son-in-law was look­ing for work, he drafted a unique re­sume. His last name is Pan­cake, which is un­for­get­table, but he scanned in the pic­ture of a stack of pan­cakes and in big, bold let­ters he printed: “PAN­CAKE (yes, that’s my name).”

He is now a suc­cess­ful busi­ness owner and lives in the “Pan­cake House” with my daugh­ter and their four chil­dren, lov­ingly called the “Short Stack.”

— Mar­lene C., via email

DEAR MAR­LENE C. >> You made me “flip”!

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