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Letters: Credit card firms reject me because I'm a stay-at-home parent

A U.S. Postal Service letter carrier prepares to place letters in a mailbox.


This week we address these questions from our listeners:

Jamie from Minneapolis, Minn. writes:

"I'm a stay-at-home mom and found out recently that it's really hard for me to get my own credit card! My husband has a solid job, we own our home, so we have good mortgage payment history, and we have a couple of credit cards that we pay off in full every month. Unfortunately, those cards are all in his name with me as a secondary cardholder. I have tried twice to get a credit card in my own name and was declined both times. Both times they said I didn't have enough revolving credit history to be able to get a credit card... Any suggestions?"

Grace from Minneapolis, Minn. writes:

"I'm 25 years old, I have a bachelors, no debt, and I'm currently making about $68k a year. I have some savings as well as 401k and a roth. I live with my boyfriend who will be graduating college in a year and probably going on to grad school (so we're not sure what sort of income he can expect for another 3 years or so). I am considering starting my own business in the next few years as well as trying to prepare for starting a family in the next 5 years.

I recently spoke with a financial planner who suggested that I take out a permanent life insurance policy as a form of mid to long term savings. He presented the upsides that it accrues value and that it's a non-taxable investment, but I'm not sure about taking out a big life insurance policy as an unmarried 25 year old with no kids, plus I have never heard of this kind of policy being used as a savings vehicle before. I am worried about how to save for 5-15 years out, does this sound like a good method for doing that or should I be considering other options?"

Nurudeen from Flint, Mich. writes:

"I just graduated from a 4 year Engineering college in December. My graduation gift is some money I can use to invest in my future. It can be real estate, stocks, bonds etc. However, I'm from Nigeria and not sure what the procedure is to invest as a resident Alien. Also I don't know too much about investing so I wouldn't want to create the portfolio myself. Would it be wise to pay someone to invest my money considering what has happened over the last 4 years? I'm currently in my first year of graduate school pursuing my master in Electrical Engineering."

To hear personal finance journalist Carmen Wong Ulrich, author of "The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life and Your Money," address these questions and more, click the audio player above.

About the author

In more than 20 years in public radio, Barbara Bogaev has served as the longtime guest host of NPR’s flagship program Fresh Air with Terry Gross, as well as host of APM’s news and culture magazine, Weekend America and the weekly national documentary series, Soundprint.

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