Between turbulence in the housing market, the Federal Reserve's emergency interest-rate cut and a rollercoaster of a stock market, Jean says many people have questions about recent changes in the economy. Jean helps listeners sort through the uncertainty and offers advice with help from Jason Zweig, of Money magazine, and John Ulzheimer, of credit.com.
When it comes to the stock market, Jason says many investors have been making choices based on fear, which ends up causing a lot of volatility. "Any investment decision you make in response to a short-term trend is going to turn out to be a mistake in the long run," Jason says. "This is not the time to do something rash; this is not the time to react to other people's insanity." Jason says it's important to continue with the investment plan you have in place and try not to watch continuous TV coverage of the market's ups and downs.
While you may be able to ignore the stock market's volatile moves, you won't be able to avoid the three major credit bureaus' new standard for credit scores, John says. Until recently, the benchmark for good credit was a score of 720—now, John says you must have a score of at least 750 to qualify for the best interest rates on credit. If you are below 750, John says you should continue to pay bills on time and pay down your debt. "The goal, if you want to improve your credit, is to try to get your [credit card] balances to no more than 10 percent of all of your limits," he says.