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The truth about credit scores.

Welcome to Monday, my friends! Are you ready for another week of great money stories from around the web? Let’s get started.

Although many of my friends hate when I say this, I avoid the news. I’ve found that staying “informed” doesn’t help me be a better citizen and it only makes me unhappy. Plus, even without paying attention to the news, I hear about the most important events of the day through other channels. And the downsides of the news are far, far greater than any benefits that might come from consuming it.

The biggest downside? The exaggerated sense that the world is a terrible place. Today’s top story here at Apex touches on this problem:

Many Americans are convinced that crime is rising in the U.S. They’re wrong. [FiveThirtyEight] — “The situation is messy on many levels, but it remains true that people’s personal fear of being victims of crimes and their perceptions of national crime rates are far from accurate. So why do Americans still think crime is high?”

Does financial independence mean a lifetime of deprivation? [Retire by 40] — “FIRE isn’t about deprivation. It’s about having the freedom to do what you want. I will never work for someone else again as long as we can maintain our modest lifestyle.”

The truth about credit scores. [Miranda Marquit] — “Before you congratulate yourself too much when you look at Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, Smart Credit, or any other consumer scoring site and see a great score, remember that it could be lower in reality.” [I just ran into this problem in Real Life. I showed a credit score of 806 when I went to apply for a car loan. The car company showed I had a credit score of around 730…]

To close things out for today, here’s a little video I enjoyed very much. In it, actor Gene Hackman tells a story about his colleague (and friend) Dustin Hoffman. It’s a picture-perfect example of the psychological fallacy known as mental accounting.

Okay, that’s plenty for Monday, don’t you think? Come back tomorrow for more of the best in personal finance!

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