Analysis

How to thaw a credit freeze

And more of the week's best financial advice

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:

Thawing a credit freeze
"If you're one of the 143 million people affected by the Equifax breach, you've likely been considering putting a freeze on your credit report," said Melissa Kirsch at Lifehacker. A freeze restricts access to your credit file, "so thieves can't open a new line of credit in your name." But what about when you need to temporarily lift or cancel a freeze — if you're applying for a loan or trying to rent a new apartment, for example? In that case, you'll have to contact each credit agency to either cancel the freeze altogether or specify how long you'd like the freeze lifted. It's also possible to grant one-time access to a specific business. A week should be enough time for most organizations to do a credit check, but "try to get a sense of when they will be doing the credit check so you can be sure you've allotted enough time."

Prepare to work for that raise
"Unless you are one of the highest performers at the office, don't expect next year's paycheck to grow much," said John Simons at The Wall Street Journal. Despite low unemployment and increased competition for workers, businesses are expected to keep raises "relatively flat" in 2018, according to consulting firm Aon Hewitt's annual survey of salary planning. "Companies are paying to keep their highest performers happy and in place, with an average 12.5 percent of payroll going to incentive and bonus pay next year." But those employees may have to work even harder to win a raise. Of the firms making changes to their merit pay structures next year, 15 percent plan to set more aggressive performance targets. About 40 percent said they plan to reduce or eliminate raises for low-performing workers.

Hackers hit the SEC
Another week, another high-profile hack, said Adam Shell at USA Today. The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed last week that cyberthieves penetrated its EDGAR electronic filing system last year, making off with sensitive corporate data that "might have been used to make money illegally in the stock market." The cyberattack on Wall Street's top regulator doesn't hit as close to home for most consumers as the Equifax breach, which involved sensitive personal data while the SEC breach involves corporate filings related to earnings, mergers, and trading. Nevertheless, it "does little to instill confidence in the integrity of the market that millions of Americans depend on to fuel their 401(k) and pension investments."

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