Staff Writer

Bents Dulcio

Bents Dulcio writes with a humble, field-level view on personal finance. He learned how to cut financial corners while acquiring a B.S. degree in Political Science at Florida State University. Bents has experience with student loans, affordable housing, budgeting to include an auto loan and other personal finance matters that greet all Millennials when they graduate. He has a prodigious appetite for reading, which he helps feed with writing from Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, the “Father of Capitalism.” Bents writing also has been published by JPMorgan Chase, TheSimpleDollar and

The hand of the woman holding two credit cards.

Can You Pay off a Credit Card With Another Credit Card?

By Bents Dulcio | July 2, 2024

Most adults (82% in 2023) have at least one credit card. We use them to shop for groceries, make online purchases, and build our credit profiles. Some of us may…

Piggy bank upside down

Defaulting On Payday Loans

By Bents Dulcio | April 11, 2023

Payday loans are short-term, high-cost loans that borrowers can use to cover expenses that arise when funds are low, and payday is not far away. Payday loans usually are considerably…

Rocket Loans Logo

Rocket Loans

By Bents Dulcio | July 13, 2022

Rocket Loans has built its reputation on fast loans (that’s where Rocket comes in), while being a pioneer in online loan applications and funding. Rocket Loans, a subsidiary of Rocket…

PenFed Credit Union Logo


By Bents Dulcio | May 12, 2022

When high-interest credit card debt throws a wrench in your cash flow, a debt consolidation loans can help smooth things out. Credit unions can be a good solution for some…

Upgrade debt consolidation logo


By Bents Dulcio | April 24, 2022

Upgrade was started in 2016 by Lending Club founder Renaud Laplanche, and it uses the marketplace model that Lending Club used when it began. This means it’s not a bank.…

Best Egg logo

Best Egg

By Bents Dulcio | March 10, 2022

Best Egg promotes its model as a way to secure your nest egg with quick and efficient online financing. It offers debt consolidation loans between $2,000-$50,000 with terms of 36-60…

Whiteboard listing the pros and cons of chapter 7 bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Pros & Cons

By Bents Dulcio | September 22, 2021

Early bankruptcy laws focused on punishing the debtor and repaying the creditor. Eventually, the process evolved into a method of financial rehabilitation, a “second chance” to get your finances right.…

Happy Money logo

Happy Money

By Bents Dulcio | September 17, 2021

The Payoff Loan is the debt consolidation loan product of financial wellness company Happy Money, which changed its name from Payoff. The company “is on a mission to develop and…

Woman transferring the balance of one credit card to another

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

By Bents Dulcio | May 27, 2021

A balance transfer is a way of moving the balance from one credit card to another to pay down debt. The new card typically comes with a promotional, low or…

Cell phone receiving call from a scammer

How to Stop and Report Phone Call Scams

By Bents Dulcio | May 24, 2021

Scamming people over the phone has become a low-risk, inexpensive and lucrative past-time for crooks and con-artists. Consumers reported losses of more than $285 million in November of 2019, according…

Calculating the benefits of paying off student loans or investing

Millennial Dilemma: Pay off Student Loans or Invest and Save

By Bents Dulcio | May 12, 2021

When you graduate from college with a costly, new diploma, instinct tells you to latch on to the first decent job offer an employer throws your way, and then whittle…

Wells Fargo

By Bents Dulcio | January 13, 2021

Borrowers who are in over their heads with high-interest credit cards and spiraling finances looking to consolidate debt often turn to startup online lenders and fintech companies for a solution.…

Upstart debt consolidation loan logo


By Bents Dulcio | January 11, 2021

Upstart is an online loan marketplace that uses artificial intelligence to assess a creditor’s risk, a big departure from the traditional credit score model. The company says AI makes affordable…

Prosper debt consolidation logo


By Bents Dulcio | January 11, 2021

In 2005, Prosper was the first company to bring lending to the peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace. P2P marketplaces (i.e. Airbnb, Uber) offer individuals a place to exchange goods and services. Think…

National Debt Relief debt settlement logo

National Debt Relief

By Bents Dulcio | January 8, 2021

The deeper you sink into debt the harder it is to reclaim a sense of financial stability. If you’re drowning in high-interest credit card debt and have unpaid bills in…

Marcus debt consolidation loan logo


By Bents Dulcio | January 8, 2021

Goldman Sachs, the financial services company, has been around since 1869. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a relatively new player in the online debt consolidation loan game, but may not…

LightStream debt consolidation loan logo


By Bents Dulcio | January 8, 2021

LightsStream’s selling point is that it offers loans “that reward good credit.” Be warned that if you have bad credit or a low credit score, you should look somewhere else…

Freedom Debt Relief logo

Freedom Debt Relief

By Bents Dulcio | January 6, 2021

Is Freedom Debt Relief legit and can you get away with paying only a percentage of your debts just like that? FDR is a real company and its debt settlement…

Discover debt consolidation loan logo


By Bents Dulcio | January 6, 2021

Discover launched with a single credit card product in early 1986, issued by Dean Whitter Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck Co. At the time, it was one…

Avant debt consolidation logo


By Bents Dulcio | January 5, 2021

You could say Avant’s debt consolidation loans are targeted toward credit-building consumers. A FICO score of 580 is all you need to get your foot in the door. If your…

Money bag with student graduation cap

How Can I Refinance My Student Loans?

By Bents Dulcio | April 6, 2020

The constant drop in interest rates has allowed student loans to join mortgage and automobile loans in the marketplace for refinancing. The Fed’s moves threw open the door for student…

Chalkboard with text that says "Post-Grad Credit Counseling"

Post-Graduate Credit Counseling

By Bents Dulcio | February 19, 2020

When you graduate college, your priorities shift from football games and final exams to landing your first job, locking down an affordable apartment and repaying student loans. Here’s one more…

Vector of a businessman pushing scale changing credit information from poor to good

Credit Counseling vs. Credit Repair

By Bents Dulcio | February 7, 2020

They sound like different ways of saying the same thing, but credit counseling and credit repair are two completely different strategies for lifting yourself out of debt. Credit counseling is…

Young man and experienced credit counselor in session regarding student loans

Student Loan Credit Counseling

By Bents Dulcio | January 28, 2020

Repaying student loans can get complicated quickly. Which repayment program do you sign up for? Could you be eligible for forgiveness? Is there a penalty for repaying loans early? No,…

FHA loan paperwork

How to Get An FHA Loan

By Bents Dulcio | January 15, 2020

A lot of us dream of owning a starter home, either to shelter our growing families or as an early investment in our futures. A home, however, is the most…

Home sitting on cash taken out to refinance the mortgage

Cash Out Refinancing

By Bents Dulcio | November 22, 2019

If you own a home and need money, one of the first thoughts that might shoot into your head is: Can I use the equity in my house as collateral…

A senior receiving credit counseling for credit card debt

Credit Counseling for the Elderly

By Bents Dulcio | October 16, 2019

We are never too old to learn a thing or two about how to manage our finances. In fact, the older we get, the more important it is that we…

Illustration of Debt Consolidation Companies Review


By Bents Dulcio | September 18, 2019 compiled information on six of the top debt consolidation companies in the United States and reviewed them based on services, fees, reviews from the Better Business Bureau, and complaint…

Debt consolidation loan application with denied stamped on it

Top Reasons for Being Denied a Debt Consolidation Loan

By Bents Dulcio | August 8, 2019

Lenders don’t hand out loans to just anybody. The more desperate you are for one, the harder it may be to find a bank, credit union, online lender or even…

Bad credit score

How To Get Out of Debt with Bad Credit

By Bents Dulcio | May 20, 2019

Severe debt and bad credit are a recipe for nightmares. If you have bad credit, it’s hard to climb out of debt. If you have severe debt, it’s hard to…

Debt Avalanche

What Is the Debt Avalanche?

By Bents Dulcio | May 8, 2019

Have you ever wondered how on earth you ended up with so many credit cards? Probably, it was the intro deals that reeled you in. Who could pass on 0%…

401k written on nest egg

401(k) Loans: Should You Borrow From Retirement?

By Bents Dulcio | May 2, 2019

When you need a loan, sources like banks, credit unions, online lenders and finance companies immediately spring to mind. But, for American workers who have a 401(k) plan, there’s another…

Hand placed on casket at a funeral

Burial Funds & Programs That Help With Funeral Costs

By Bents Dulcio | April 22, 2019

Before we begin to navigate you through the process of paying for a funeral service, we would like to offer our sincerest condolences for your loss. Losing a loved one…

Senior citizens with bikes on the beach

Financial Assistance for Seniors: Government Programs and Debt Help

By Bents Dulcio | April 4, 2019

Events that have created woes for seniors in the last few years — inflation, soaring healthcare costs and a pandemic that won’t go away — are proof of the old…

Man standing in front of car with no money

Help! I Can’t Pay My Car Payment

By Bents Dulcio | March 13, 2019

If you’ve fallen behind on your car payments, chances are other bills are stacking up as well. Taking the time to explore your options for eliminating debt now will save…

Best Debt Management Companies Review

Best Debt Management Programs

By Bents Dulcio | February 12, 2019

Credit card debt is quietly – too quietly! – inching its way back into the financial news headlines and if you haven’t noticed, well, take a look at your bill!…

Consolidation loans and your options


By Bents Dulcio | February 6, 2019

What Is a Debt Consolidation Loan? A debt consolidation loan is a financial strategy to pay off multiple high-interest debts with one, low-interest loan. It simplifies bill paying – and…

Man on Computer applying for a Home Equity Line of Credit

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

By Bents Dulcio | January 22, 2019

If you need extra cash, HELOCs are hot. Those letters stand for Home Equity Line of Credit, which is a secured loan backed by your home. Instead of taking out…

Lady holding card that says, "Pay off your mortgage"

Paying off a 30-Year Mortgage Early

By Bents Dulcio | June 4, 2018

Buying a house has never been cheap, but lately, it’s become more challenging for homeowners to lock in an affordable interest rate that helps pay off the mortgage early. Paying…

Improve Credit Score

How to Increase Your Credit Score

By Bents Dulcio | May 18, 2018

There are a lot of tips and tricks on improving your credit score – and we’ll get to those in a moment – but nothing will raise your credit score…

Consolidation Calculator

Debt Consolidation Calculator

By Bents Dulcio | April 6, 2018

Debt consolidation lets borrowers combine multiple credit card debts into a new loan, a new credit card, or a debt management program. A loan calculator can help you determine if…

Last Will & Testament

Who Is Responsible for Debt After Death of a Relative?

By Bents Dulcio | March 27, 2012

A 2016 study by Experian, one of the three largest credit bureaus in the U.S., determined that most Americans – 73% to be exact – are going to die in…

Piggy bank with graduation cap

When Do Student Loan Payments Resume Again?

By Bents Dulcio | June 22, 2023

The Biden and Trump administrations issued eight extensions on a forbearance program, but Congress passed a bill ensuring there will be no more pauses on student loan repayment, so borrowers…

President Joe Biden giving a speech behind a podium

Update on Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

By Bents Dulcio | October 25, 2022

The Supreme Court ruled June 29 that President Joe Biden did not have the authority to erase hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt, effectively ending the Biden…

Workers lined up for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic

$300 Federal Unemployment Benefits

By Bents Dulcio | August 27, 2020

If you are unemployed and your job prospects are grim, March 11th was probably one of the better days you’ve had during the pandemic. That was the day federal unemployment…

Graduated students with the burden of debt

Handling Student Loans During the Pandemic

By Bents Dulcio | August 12, 2020

COVID-19 has put a plug in the nation’s cash flow, forcing graduates to dig deeper into their pockets if they want to avoid drowning in student loan debt. The US…

Chalkboard with graph of rising credit card rates

Why Credit Card APR’s Are Rising, Despite Fed’s Third Rate Cut of 2019

By Bents Dulcio | November 4, 2019

Typically, a decrease in the federal funds rate means your credit card APR should fall as well, but that’s not what is happening lately in the U.S. economy. Banks have…

Pay Car Insurance

What to Do If You Can’t Afford Car Insurance

By Bents Dulcio | September 19, 2019

For most Americans, going carless is unthinkable. You need one to buy groceries, take kids to school, visit a doctor’s office and see friends and family from time to time.…

Disabled veteran in a wheelchair

President Trump Signs Order to Erase Student Loan Debt for Disabled Veterans

By Bents Dulcio | August 28, 2019

Lawmakers, economists and activist all have made headlines debating solutions to the $1.6 trillion student debt crisis burdening the lives of 44 million Americans. Some plans go as far as…