Boston Globe article answers a lot of questions. Reducing debt can lower credit score By Justin Bachman, AP Business Writer, 3/24/2004 CREDIT KILLERS: Reducing debt and cleaning up your balance sheet are important steps toward financial health, but don't go overboard. That could leave you with a low credit score, which could hurt you when you apply for a loan or mortgage in the future, according to Houston-based Money Management International, a credit and debt counseling nonprofit. Other actions MMI warns against include: -- Closing old accounts. It might seem smart to end accounts you never use, but this can shorten your credit history, which lowers your credit score. -- Avoiding all debt: No credit history at all is nearly as harmful as a shabby one. When lenders have no way to judge how you'd handle a loan, they're leery. -- Co-signing for a loan. You may want to help a friend or relative, but there's no upside in this for your credit score. You assume all the risk for the primary borrower's actions, with zero reward. -- Assuming there's a grace period. Even a payment one day late is still late and can lower your score. -- Rate shopping: Too many loan inquiries also hurts a score. © Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Unrelated article but still intresting. CEO YOUTHS: Successful chief executives apparently had some bookish childhoods. In a query of 208 Fortune 1000 CEOs, almost all of them, 84 percent, described themselves as voracious readers when they were growing up. Less than a fifth said they were couch potatoes, watching television to pass their time. They weren't the cool kids in school, either: Only 4 percent said they were very popular. The most, 59 percent, described themselves as unpopular. As for motivation, almost half (43 percent) cited fear, followed by power, for 22 percent. Only 7 percent of the CEOs said they were motivated by money. The survey was conducted for New York-based Jericho Communications, which is publishing a book from the findings, "Leaderships Secrets of the World's Most Successful CEOs." INSTANTLY UNEMPLOYED: About 1,000 workers at an Indiana television tube plant learned a brutal reality last week: Jobs can disappear immediately. Thomson SA, the French electronics giant that makes RCA and other brands, closed its Marion, Ind., plant, laying off 990 people during their shift. While the suddenness of the layoff might sound harsh, some experts say that can potentially work out better than telling workers they'll have jobs for another six weeks, two months, five months. "People don't usually begin a job search until they leave the plant," said John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the Chicago-based outplacement firm. So what if this happens to you, or to someone you know? The firm offers a few tips for what to do when you're shocked by a sudden layoff: -- Talk to those closest to you. -- Take care of yourself emotionally. Don't squelch sadness, anger or betrayal. -- Don't feel obligated to talk with everyone who calls to check on you. -- Don't spend rashly, on a big purchase or a last-second trip, even if you feel you deserve it. -- After a few days, get your resume current and start the daily work hunt as your new, full-time job.