In this newsletter, you’ll learn about co-signing a loan. You’ll also read about carbon monoxide poisoning and bad driving habits.
What to Know About Co-signing a Loan
Co-signing on a car, house or school loan for a loved one is a great way to help them build their credit or obtain financing. While providing support can be a very fulfilling experience, you must always be wary of the financial consequences that could arise.
The following are things you may want to consider before co-signing on a loan:
Co-signing is a high-risk, low-reward process. Although you may see a small increase in your credit score, any missed or late payments are strikes against your credit.
If the person misses payments on the loan, you can be liable for paying the full amount as well as any missed payments.
Co-signing can have a large effect on your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Your DTI ratio is the percentage of your debt payments in comparison to your income. Having a high DTI ratio shows that you may have more debt than income, which can lower your credit score—making it harder for you to establish new lines of credit in the future.
If you do decide to co-sign for someone, have an open conversation with them about your expectations. Discuss when the payments are due, talk through any concerns you might have and monitor the account periodically to ensure the loan is being paid adequately and in a timely manner.
Causes and Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas—one that can prove deadly if you’re accidently exposed to it. Once CO molecules enter your body, they begin to replace oxygen in your red blood cells, causing tissue damage, headaches, flu-like symptoms or even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 400 Americans die from CO poisoning every year due to unintentional exposure.
CO gas can be released naturally or produced by defective appliances. Some common home appliances that omit CO include:
Install battery-operated CO detectors throughout your home that alert you when high levels of CO are detected. The CDC recommends replacing the batteries twice a year, as well as changing the detector every five years. Make sure any large gas appliances are inspected every year. When purchasing a new appliance, always double-check that it has been approved by a national testing agency.
Break These Bad Driving Habits
As drivers get more comfortable on the road, it can be easy to slip into bad driving habits. A few of the most common bad driving habits include:
Using your phone while driving—Whether you’re texting or scrolling through your social media feeds, phones have become one of the largest driving distractions. When driving, either put your phone away to avoid any temptation, or try utilizing your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” or “Safe Driving” features to limit any noise or vibrations that could cause you to get distracted while on the road.
Failing to signal—When merging into another lane or making a turn, it’s imperative that you signal before performing the action. Failing to do so can confuse nearby drivers, which can lead to a serious collision.
Driving with no seat belt—Wearing your seat belt is the easiest way to stay safe when you are out on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if 90% of the U.S. population wore their seat belts, 4,200 lives would be saved every year.
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