September has only just begun, but holiday layaway plans are already making the news. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, recently announced plansto extend its holiday layaway program by a month this year, in addition to tripling its service fee from $5 to $15.
People are out of work, deeply in debt, and having their homes foreclosed. It's a grim picture. However, that is not an accurate picture of the whole country. The fact is that credit conditions vary radically from state to state.
To be sure, VA loans aren't the best fit for every military borrower. Veterans with sterling credit and enough cash to cover a healthy down payment might want to seek conventional financing. But that's far from the norm for most service members and their families.
Being maxed out isn't ideal but when it comes to your credit score, timeliness of your payments is more important to get current. That is, paying on time to not have a new late charge appear on your report is improvement! So getting current is a priority.
Both experiencing the emotional loss of a loved one and the emotional loss of your financial life are similar in some distinct ways. However, the emotional stages of debt also have two additional components that a mortal death does not.
I propose the creation of a new banking industry initiative called NOBAR (Nonstandard Borrowers Alternative Resource). Its mission is to help responsible individuals with bad credit scores -- where reasonable and appropriate -- secure a new mortgage or refi.
How much does a single late payment affect your credit scores? Of course, as with so many things related to credit scores, the answer is, "It depends." But the irony is, the better your credit, the more you may feel the sting.