Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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This week: How to get the lowest possible credit score, home money pits, how to add hours to your week, whether college is still worth it and whether you should still own a Vanguard index fund.

1. What’s the Worst Credit Score You Can Get?

[Credit.com] “You already know a perfect credit score is hard to come by. But what about the worst credit score? With credit card debt reaching nearly $1 trillion dollars last spring, it doesn’t sound like much of a challenge. Yet you’d be surprised by what it takes to earn a truly terrible score.”

Figuring out how to earn a horrible credit score is simple: Do the opposite of what it takes for a great one. But what was interesting about this article was that getting the lousiest possible score (which isn’t zero — they don’t go down that far) isn’t as easy as it looks. Read the article, but please don’t try to compete for the worst-score record.

2. 5 Simple Ways to Add Hours to Your Week

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Spending just a little extra time on Sunday, or whenever works best for you, preparing for the week ahead can leave you with much more time during the week to focus on more important things. Not to mention that it can leave your entire family feeling much less stressed.”

The advice offered by this article is definitely useful, although I doubt I’ll ever be disciplined enough to do it all. It’s about things to do on Sundays, like pick your clothes for the week, cook for the week, pay your bills for the week and more. Like I said, good advice, but…

3. Is Vanguard 500 Index Fund Still Worth Owning?

[Money] “The case for building your portfolio around low-cost, passively run funds is irrefutable now, but when the first index mutual fund for individual investors launched 40 years ago, the notion was blasphemous.”

I have a bunch of my retirement savings in this fund, so you can imagine why the headline caught my eye. The bottom line is that this fund is still worth owning, although there are now funds that represent more of the market and funds with lower management fees. Interesting!

4. Most Everyone Thinks College Is Worth It

[Debt.com] “Most everyone — those who did and did not attend college — think it’s still a solid investment, regardless of debt. A new study from Bankrate says 73 percent of all Americans believe college is important, and 62 percent believe it should be free to anyone who wants to go.”

An interesting look at American attitudes on college. Most of what’s revealed comes as no surprise: Younger people are less likely to think college is important, and older people are more likely to be against debt forgiveness. Still, some interesting insights. Check it out.

5. 9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings

[Wise Bread] “There are so many expenses associated with paying the bills for a home that it is easy to miss money leaks that are costing you big dollars. Putting a plug into these leaks can make a big difference in your budget.”

My house is currently worth a lot more than I paid for it, but considering how much I’ve put in it over the years, I’m actually not sure that I’m ahead. Money pits included in this article, many of which I’ve addressed in my older home, include old-fashioned thermostats, drafty windows, old HVAC systems, old appliances, inadequate insulation and more. Check it out, then head to Home Depot.

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Stacy Johnson

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