Cheat Sheet Q & A


Topic:  Best site for credit scores


Here’s the entry:


I have a question.  I recently obtained my annual credit reports for my wife and me from all three credit bureaus.  I did not think to ask for my credit score. 


Other than going back to each company and paying each for the score, is there a single source you can suggest (Credit  So I can obtain my score? 


Bottom Line:  So let’s first take a step back at what scores are available and how they are used by those who will evaluate them.  You have two metrics that matter.  You have the three consumer credit ratings agencies: 


  • Experian   
  • Trans Union
  • Equifax

You really need to have a credit score from each one of these consumer credit agencies because if a business or entity evaluates your “credit score” the method that’s most commonly used works like this…  They will drop the highest score and the lowest score, with the middle score being the one that’s used.   The single score that’s most relevant isn’t one of those numbers however… 


If you want just one score your Fico score is the way to go.  Over 90% of businesses will now use Fico, in conjunction with, or instead of the credit scores provided by the consumer credit rating agencies.  So where should you go to get the information online? 


No true free credit scores are available from the sites like Credit  Now credit is a good site with terrific information and resources for you to take advantage of for free but you won’t get the actual credit scores you’re looking for.  Credit Karma has a partnership with Trans Union to provide an estimated score based on certain data from Trans Union called the “Trans Risk” score.  It may provide a rough estimate of what your actual Trans Union credit score may be but that’s about it.  That’s true of so many of the other sites that purport to offer free credit scores without provider a credit card number.  So where should you go? 


  • is the best site to obtain your fico score (and the also have their own estimator if that’ll do for your purposes) and they also do bundle all credit score for you to purchase if you’re so inclined

But what is the most cost effective way to obtain the scores? 


While purchasing scores from the sites will run you about  $10 for each score, if you already use an ID protection service (which I recommend) you generally can upgrade your service for a couple of dollars per month to obtain all three of your credit scores on a regular basis.  Identity Guard is the service I prefer and for a mid-level plan you can get all three scores each quarter and one of them every month with the service. 


If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:


Audio Report:



Before you decide to move...  Can you really afford it and/or will you still want to once you know the cost?:


Bottom Line:  We all know that many aspects of everyday life have become significantly more expensive with time.  Because we move infrequently it’s easy to underestimate just how extensive those moving costs may be.  Often we’ll commit to the idea of moving (if not the job) without having actually obtained the information regarding relocation expense.  With that in mind consider this:


The average cost of a local move according to the Americans Moving & Storage Association:


  • $1170


The average cost of a regional move: 


  • $5,630


The average cost of a cross country move:


  • $12,459

Clearly you want to have a good idea of what the cost considerations are for you and your family prior to making a commitment that may not be as attractive or that you may not be able to afford. 

Audio Report:



If you're renting make sure you're getting a good deal:


Bottom Line:  I’ve articulated the relative value and benefits of buying a home if you’re going to be in place for several years but what if you’re renting?  I figured it was time I looked into the current renting landscape to see if I might be able to find something of use for you. 


Using the latest data from Realty Trac and doing some historical analysis I found the following:


If you go back to this time in 2006 and fast forward to today here’s what you’ll find:


·        The average home price is down by 4.4% nationally

·        The average rent rate is up by 21%


Those two numbers support the relative value of buying vs. renting I’ve been speaking to of late.  The story becomes even more dramatic when you specifically look at markets like ours. 


Miami ranks as one of the three worst values in renting among large cities when you consider the cost increase of renting relative to incomes.  Looking around the country what you find is that the housing markets that participated heavily in the boom-bust cycle in housing but are still desirable locations geographically have had the largest increases in rent rates over the last many years.  Sounds like South Florida right?  And yes that’s the case…


While the average nationally is a 21% rent increase since 2006, the average in many communities in South Florida are 50% more than they were in 2006.  Many people have lost homes and can’t buy or don’t want as many investors have purchased properties for the sole purpose of renting them out.  This has led to a rental boom that has commonly led to high rental rates.  Do your homework when renting to ensure you’re getting good value when renting. 


Audio Report:




It's a little creepy and lot clever...  Google's last feature you can choice to use or not: 


Bottom Line:  We’ve all, at one time or another, wandered around a parking lot desperately seeking our car.  As it aside it’s a rule that if we forget where we park it’s either raining or there is a heat index of 100.   Anyway Google has updated the Google Now service (standard on Android devices) that includes a parking location service for free.  This works in a very similar way to your traditional car GPS works.  When you want to locate your car simply engage the location figure and it will walk you back to the exact location of your car.   How would it know you ask? 


Google knows based on the movement of your mobile device when and exactly where your car stopped.  That’s clearly the creepy part.  In any event it’s handy and its part of Google Now.


Audio Report:


Internet Explorer Update is a final fix & yes the fixed XP too:


Bottom Line:  So the week long vulnerability issues associated with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer finally has a solution.  As of 1pm Thursday Microsoft issued an update that finally fixed the issues that they had been patching throughout the week.  If you run auto updates for your OS and browser you should be good to go.  If you rely on manual updates do so ASAP.  It’s also worth noting that Microsoft did decide to update XP so it’s secure across all of Microsoft’s active OS.

Audio Report: