Are Diamonds A Good Investment?

Are Diamonds A Good Investment

The fact that diamond prices have risen 67% since 1978 might lead some to assume they’re a good investment.  However, this 3,000-foot view of the market masks its true nature. Not only are prices extremely volatile – shooting up 249% from 1978 to 1980 before falling 77% by early 1986 – but the value of diamonds has also long been propped up by a number of artificial sources.

When you further consider that the S&P 500 has increased 2,080% since 1978, it becomes clear that diamonds are not investable under most traditional definitions, which typically necessitate safety of principal and a competitive return. That’s not to say diamonds aren’t valuable or important – especially as emergency currency and a means of abiding by societal conventions. They simply should not be purchased as an investment with the idea of retained value.

How Many Credit Cards Should You Have? What’s Too Many?

How Many Credit Cards Should I Have

There’s no golden rule for either the number of credit cards that you should ideally have or how many credit cards is actually too many. The average credit card user had 3.7 cards in 2014, according to Gallup, and CardHub’s editors believe that around four cards is indeed the number that provides the most benefit without making life overly-complex.

But it all ultimately depends on your comfort level, credit standing and organizational skills. The more cards you have, the more magnified your financial management flaws will become. Below, we’ll break down the pros and cons of having numerous active credit card accounts as well as how to choose your own ideal number of cards. We considered store credit cards and general-purpose credit cards to be equivalent for this purpose, as the same decision process will dictate whether or not you should open a new account.

Why Are Diamonds So Expensive? Digging Up Answers

Why Are Diamonds So Expensive

We all know that diamonds are quite expensive, even to the extent that the word is used to connote wealth and exclusivity. And at roughly $7,200 for a one-carat stone, according to the Rapaport Diamond Index, it’s no wonder why.  But despite comprising roughly 90% of the precious gemstone market, diamonds are actually far more abundant than emeralds, rubies and sapphires – which will run you about $30 – $2,000 per carat. So, why are diamonds so expensive?

An extremely successful marketing campaign and the De Beers company’s decades-long,cartel-like control over supply provide the bulk of the answer. We’ll explain the underlying economics of the diamond market in greater detail below, in addition to analyzing historical price trends, exploring the most expensive types of diamonds and offering money-saving tips for diamond buyers.

Engagement Ring Financing: Cost Comparison & Tips

Engagement Ring Financing

When you consider the fact that the average engagement ring costs $4,000 and the average household already owes more than $7,000 to credit card companies, it’s clear why many proposers opt to finance this significant expense.

Numerous financing options do indeed exist for engagement ring shoppers – from jewelry store credit plans to 0% credit cards and other loans. And this guide will help you thoroughly evaluate these various means in order to help you arrive at the most affordable end possible. We’ll compare the financing costs of credit cards for people with varying levels of credit to the financing plans available directly from the country’s largest jewelry store chains. We’ll also explore financing alternatives, offer money-saving ring-buying tips and consult a panel of leading wedding and personal finance experts about whether a wedding ring is worth debt.

How To Read A Credit Report

How to Read a Credit Report

Credit reports contain records about our history of borrowing and repaying loans and lines of credit. And while these ultra-important documents (each person has a credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus) are freely accessible to consumers at least once per year, they can be bewildering to those who have never reviewed one before.

With that in mind, we’ve highlighted what each major credit report looks like in addition to breaking down a sample credit report – translating each line into plain English and showing you what to focus on. Hopefully, this will help you make better use of your credit information.

How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?

How Much to Spend on Engagement Ring

The age-old rule of thumb – established by the jewelry industry – is that you should spend roughly three months’ gross pay on an engagement ring. But statistics show that the average person actually shells out roughly one-and-a-half month’s salary. The average engagement ring costs around $4,000, while the average male age 25-34 – the predominant proposers – pulls in about $8,500 over three months, according to Census data.

Ignore the statistics, though. While most people are under the impression that there is a specific dollar amount or percentage of their income that must be spent on a ring, what actually matters is how much you can comfortably afford based on your current financial situation. Below, we’ll help you make that determination by explaining the most important questions to ask yourself before buying a ring as well as by laying out alternative payment options and providing money-saving money tips.

When Were Credit Cards Invented? A Complete History

History of Credit Cards

The birthdate of the credit card ultimately depends upon your definition of the product. American merchants in the 1800’s extended credit to trusted customers, enabling them to pay at a later date – often timed with things like crop yields. Coins and markers were even used in the process, typically noting the consumer’s account number and the merchant’s name.

Then, in the early 1900’s, a handful of U.S. department stores and oil companies began issuing their own credit cards – the forbearers to modern store cards – that were only useable at the particular business that issued them.

Budgeting Tips: 10 Budget Commandments & Other Pointers

Budgeting Tips
Budgeting is a complicated, often frustrating process. But it’s also an area to which a great deal of attention, including in-depth academic research, has been paid. Thus, there are myriad helpful insights to be gleaned from the experiences and study of others, and below we have amassed a collection of the best tips and strategies we could find.

Listed below you will find CardHub’s 10 Commandments of Better Budgeting as well as more specialized tips for families, students, project budgeters, vacationers and wedding planners.

2015’s Best Prepaid Travel Cards: Features, Fees & Tips Choosing

Prepaid Travel Card

Travelers have many options for what to carry in their wallets when traveling in other countries. CardHub recommends no foreign fee credit cards and no foreign fee debit cards for, as they combine the best available exchange rates with the lowest fees.

But if those aren’t available to you, you can get a prepaid card designed specifically for people traveling abroad. Functionally similar to other prepaid cards, like Green Dot or Bluebird, prepaid travel cards can be used to make purchases or withdrawals anywhere the accompanying card network is accepted. You can also use them to make travel reservations, pay bills online and receive direct deposits.

Obama’s Credit Card: Learning From Presidential Plastic

Obamacard

Sure, he’s the president of the United States. But he’s also a human being and, ultimately, a consumer. He pays his bills each month and his taxes each year. He watches TV, he’s a big sports fan and he always stays stylish.

President Obama, like roughly 160 million other Americans, also has a credit card. That’s right, the president is packing plastic – the JP Morgan Select Card, to be specific.

How to Make a Budget: Step-By-Step Instructions

How to Budget

Budgeting isn’t fun. There’s no way around it. But budgeting is something that we do need to undertake in order to gain financial awareness and, ultimately, control both spending and saving. The process of making a budget can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but you’ll want to record overall monthly inflows – take-home pay as well as other income sources – and outflows – amounts spent – at a minimum.

Most people will take things a step further, though, itemizing expenses, identifying specific spending trends and tracking savings goals over time. We’ll break down both approaches below.

Your Map To The Maze Of Debits & Credits

Debit and credit

Debits and credits are two of the most basic principles in accounting, but most people nevertheless find them pretty darn confusing! We’ll help clear things up so you can get back to the business of making – and responsibly managing – money.

In the most basic sense, debits and credits are used to record every monetary transaction. You cannot have a debit without a corresponding credit to balance it out. But knowing that and being able to effectively track your own transactions are two very different things. And while we obviously aren’t going to provide anything approaching a Masters-level course in accounting, we can give everyday consumers and conscientious small business owners the tools needed to effectively track and manage their finances. Let’s get to work.

2015’s Best Free Budget Templates

Free Budget Templates

In order to help consumers and small business owners wade their way through the available pool of budget templates and thus better manage their money, CardHub’s editors compared hundreds of options and selected the best templates for individuals, families, roommates, small business owners and more.

While every budget differs in certain respects, reflecting the personal nature of finance, certain tried-and-true budget blueprints do exist. These templates provide organization to one’s financial transactions, enabling users to quickly track spending and payment habits over time. They were selected not only because of their functionality, but also because each offers a clean look and feel as well as simple, intuitive usability.
It’s also important to note that the templates described below are all based on Microsoft Excel. If you don’t have Excel, you should be able to find a version of the particular template in Google Docs or Open Office.

Debit Card Scams: How to Spot, Report & Recover

Debit Card Scams

Consumers must be on the lookout for a few different types of debit card scams, as most of us use our plastic at both the ATM and a merchant’s point of sale. And with both law enforcement techniques and data security measures becoming more and more advanced, financial criminals are forced to become increasingly sophisticated.

As a result, debit card scams now run the gamut from physical robbery and ATM “skimming” to massive spam campaigns and advanced online attacks targeting the payment terminals of large national retailers. But that’s not to say that we consumers are defenseless.

Dealing With Debit Card Fraud & Lost Or Stolen Cards

Debit Card Fraud

U.S. merchants and card issuers incur roughly $11 billion in annual credit and debit card losses as a result of fraud and issuers spend another 6.5 billion on fraud prevention measures. Consumers, on the other hand, are relatively shielded from the financial repercussions of payments fraud, as card networks give us $0 liability guarantees on credit card purchases and signature debit card transactions.

Lesser guarantees apply to PIN debit card transactions, however. But, regardless of whether you’re using a credit card or a debit card, the question of how to report and deal with potential fraud still remains. We’ll help answer that question and further analyze the repercussions of debit card fraud below.

Debit OR Credit: When To Use Each

 Credit Debit

Consumers have three distinct decisions to make in regard to the debit or credit conundrum. The first is which, if either, type of card you should have in your wallet. We recommend having both, considering the credit building benefits and rewards superiority of credit cards as well as the convenient access to cash provided by a debit card.

The second question one must answer is which type of card to use when making a given purchase. This is far less straightforward, as the decision typically depends on the amount of the purchase or the particular merchant that you’re dealing with. With that being said, we recommend using your credit card whenever you can, while only pulling out your debit card for low-dollar purchases and when you need cash. Credit cards offer superior fraud protection and the possibility of rewards, after all.

Debit Card vs. Credit Card: Which Is Better?

Debit Card vs. Credit Card

Debit cards and credit cards are two of the most commonly-used financial products at our disposal. But, despite sharing a number of similarities, these two forms of monetary plastic are quite different and should thus serve distinct roles within your financial arsenal.

In order to help you fully grasp these inherent distinctions, we’ve compiled a complete breakdown of how these titans of everyday money management stack up against one another. The short answer, however, is that credit cards are the preferable option for people who can use them responsibly due to credit’s supremacy in terms of credit building, rewards earning, financing capabilities and fraud protections.
 

How to Pay Loans, Credit Cards & Mortgages with Credit

Pay Credit Card or Loan with Credit Card

Yes, you can pay loans and lines of credit with a credit card, but we strongly advise against doing so unless it is part of a plan that will save you money.  There are three primary ways to turn this into a money-making venture: 1) if you will be able to earn enough rewards to outweigh any associated processing costs; 2) if you can take advantage of an attractive 0% balance transfer deal that will expedite your timeline to debt freedom; or 3) you are at risk of becoming delinquent on the card whose bill you plan to pay.

A notable secondary benefit for those contemplating using plastic to pay down a mortgage or auto loan is the fact that you would be effectively transforming secured debt into unsecured debt, thereby protecting your assets in the event of bankruptcy. What’s more, it’s important to note that while it is indeed possible to either pay one credit card with another or use plastic to cover the cost of a loan, doing so isn’t necessarily as simple as plugging your card number and expiration date into a website.

Do Student Loans Affect Credit? All You Need to Know

Do Student Loans Affect Credit

Yes, student loans do affect your credit standing. In fact, there is little difference between the credit-building capabilities of a student loan and a standard personal loan. Your lender will report account information to the major credit bureaus each payment period, thereby adding positive information to your file and thus boosting your score – assuming you pay as agreed.

There are, however, certain circumstantial differences that set student loans apart from other types of loans and lines of credit. For example, while the fact that you have a student loan will be noted on your major credit reports during school, federal student loans don’t begin reporting payment information to the major credit bureaus until you have graduated and the deferment period ends. To learn more about building credit with a student loan, continue reading below.

When to Cut Up a Credit Card & How to Dispose of One

Cut Up Credit Cards

There are two main reasons to cut up a credit card. For starters, you may need to switch to new plastic if your card is damaged, about to expire or it is being updated by the issuer. The other primary rationale for casting away your credit card is to remove temptation. This is an admirable and financially sound step to take, but some people may be better served by cancelling their accounts rather than simply taking a pair of scissors to their plastic.

In any instance, it is important to follow the proper protocols so you do not end up in hot water with your credit card company, harming the environment or opening a door to fraudsters.

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Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.