This Is the Ideal Credit Score, According to a Financial Expert

iStock.com/GCShutter
iStock.com/GCShutter

Even as adults, we still worry about being graded. Instead of test results or GPAs, most of us are preoccupied with our credit scores. Conventional wisdom says that the higher the number, the better. We pay down balances, anguish over late payments, and worry we might not qualify for optimal interest rates on loans.

A good credit score is certainly useful. But according to experts, the difference between "good" and "great" may not have any real, tangible benefits.

Speaking with CNBC Make It, Bankrate chief analyst Greg McBride said that people in pursuit of a "perfect" score are wasting their time. FICO scores, which are calculated from data collected from the major credit bureaus, range from 300 to 850. At 650 or lower, you're going to be perceived as a risky borrower. At 700, you'll qualify for most loans or offers. But 800 or 850? According to McBride, it's a wash.

"Once you're above 760, you're getting the best rates," McBride said. A score of 780, 800, or 820 is not likely to have any dramatic impact on your eligibility or term details, making an obsessive pursuit for a "perfect" score largely one of self-gratification.

So what does 760 or above get you? Typically preferential terms that can save you thousands in interest over time. You could also qualify for larger loan amounts, although lenders will also be looking at your income and expenditures to inform those decisions.

The bottom line: By making payments on time, keeping track of your credit utilizations (typically borrowing no more than 30 percent of your available credit), and accumulating a credit history, you've proven you can manage debt effectively. That's really what lenders care about.

If you've been so diligent with keeping balances low and paying on time that you've achieved 850 without trying, you're in some very rare company. As of April 2018, only 1.5 percent of Americans had a perfect score.  

[h/t CNBC]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]