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Money Makeover: 5 Easy Ways To Clean Up Your Credit

A clean credit report is essential to your financial health.

A clean credit report is essential to your financial health. Low interest rates, hassle-free financing are just some of the rewards of having a praise-worthy credit report. Have you pulled yours lately? Did you scream when you finally looked at it? No fear, there are easy ways to help tidy up your credit so you can make those big purchases, like a home, car or even a business loan.

1. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

Request a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It's important to obtain all three because each report may not have all the same information. And don't worry about paying either, consumers can get one free credit report every year from each of the three agencies.

2. Take a Good Look at Every Charge and Highlight Those That Are Questionable

Circle or mark anything that looks suspicious in red. This can include credit card accounts that you closed but still appear as open, accounts that you never opened, activity that you were not involved in, and account histories that show late payments when you know you paid on time. Credit reports may have errors. It's important for you to not only catch them, but correct them. It's your credit that's on the line, not theirs.

3. Follow Up With Credit Bureau's

Need to dispute a negative item on your report? Write a request to the lender and keep notes of when you sent it. Disputing an item on your credit report once is not enough. Keep notes of the people you speak with at the bureau, when you contacted them and the date by which any corrective action will be taken. Check your credit report again after that date to make sure they followed through. Don't stop until your credit report has been changed.

4. Pay Overdue Bills

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you have any accounts in collections, create a budget that will help you pay off the debt as soon as possible. By paying down your debt, you will open up your available credit, which you can then use responsibly to purchase big ticket items. Many creditors will allow you to settle your outstanding balance, twenty five cents on the dollar, or pay monthly towards the balance. Knocking out some debt could reflect positively on both your credit report and credit score. If you missed a payment to a creditor in the past, but the account is current, ask them to remove the blemish on your credit report with a note to the reporting agencies.

5. Avoid "Credit Repair" Companies That Promise Quick Credit Fixing

Who doesn't want to call a number and have the negative accounts on your credit report vanish into thin air? That's what credit repair companies promise, but there's no such thing. Credit reporting agencies are not required to remove accurate information unless it is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies over ten years old. If the information that is challenged it’s confirmed, it will be removed. And that’s what these companies are often doing – writing and sending dispute letters on their client’s behalf. Something you can do from home and without any hefty fees or false promises.

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SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)


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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

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