This is a paid post written by me on behalf of Discover Personal Loans. All opinions are my own.
The accumulation of debt is something that all of us try to minimize in our financial lives. While most of us may be pretty smart about managing our money, many of us have debt and are paying it off at a higher interest rate every month than we need to be, instead of saving.
In fact, household credit card debt today is over $750 billion in total. There are many reasons for accumulating debt. The most common use revolving debt; credit cards and medical expenses, which can frequently be due to an unexpected situation. To be financially successful, first try to avoid taking on more debt than you can handle. Second if you already have debt, create a plan to pay it off. For example, if you’re someone who has debt from spending outside your budget, find ways to pay off your debt and to reduce and eliminate your excess spending. Become more familiar with the “why” you acquire more debt and possibly fall behind in your monthly bill payments and then you’ll be able to find a solution to pay it off. Ultimately, taking these steps could lead to finding the best ways for you to avoid unwanted debt, and only having debt that helps you reach your goals, like a mortgage you can afford or loan that helps you consolidate debt and pay it down faster. Continue reading
I am constantly surprised at how many among us don’t know or fully understand bad credit and how it can affect us all in our everyday lives. There are some who think that having and using credit is evil or dangerous and so they avoid it at all costs. In fact, there are people who have no credit rating at all who have never had a credit card or loan for anything in their life. Rare, but true, and those folks may wake up one day and find that was a really huge mistake.
When it comes to credit, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to underestimate how much your credit rating may affect you and your lifestyle. In many areas, besides the amount of money you can borrow when you really need to, and the interest rate you will have to pay, mismanaging your credit can affect whether you can qualify for loans for a mortgage, car, or personal loan. Having no credit history means a lender just doesn’t know if you are a good risk and probably won’t lend you money or will charge you a higher interest rate and offer a lower amount if they do. Continue reading
Here’s a simple fact. Your credit score is one of the most valuable assets that you possess. If you are the one in 10 million that rolls around in cash and that doesn’t ever or won’t ever need to have credit, congratulations! But while the 1% bathes in their pile of cash, the rest of us need to watch our credit. You see, to be real, you can never take for granted your credit score. It is always a big part of your life even when you don’t think it is. I’ll explain.
To begin, your credit score is like your transcripts from school. It is a history, a report of your responsibility and track record of how you handle your finances just like your transcripts indicate your skills at academic endeavors. If you don’t have one, it is like applying for work and having no high school or college diploma. And if you do have one, it will follow you around either like a weight around your neck or like a life preserver to help make things safer and easier. A potential employer or landlord might check yours and it all has to do with what you have done, do, and will do! Continue reading
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When you go to the doctor, they check your vital signs like blood pressure and temperature to make sure you’re healthy. But what about the vital signs for your financial health? These numbers tell you if you’re financially healthy (or not!) and can give you goals to shoot for.
Over time I’ve learned the hard way that I have to go to the doctor and get checked out or else my health suffers. It’s the same with your money. If you don’t pay attention to your financial vital signs, you’ll be headed for disaster. Continue reading
Every April since 2003, the United States has recognized and celebrated National Financial Literacy Month. It was called for by a joint resolution in congress and is one path to educating the citizens of our country about the importance and real necessity of developing a working knowledge in mastering the language, principles, and actions of finance.
But nowhere is it more important to begin that education than with our youth. High school financial literacy is more important than ever before. There are many levels of education and responsibilities that kids come in contact with that can be the inspiration and key to their developing a full understanding of the principles of financial education. I recently read a book that I think can really help both student and parent in that quest. Continue reading
There’s a subject that annoys me to the core, and I’m willing to bet it’s a major source of frustration for you as well. I’m talking about those annoying fees you find these days on just about everything. Businesses are busy thinking up new and even more annoying ways to grab our money even now as I write this post.
Ordinarily, I don’t condemn anyone or any business from making money when they are providing a valuable product or service. But when it’s a blatant predatory move and often obscure charge or fee, I do draw the line. And so should you. By becoming aware of these annoying charges before they’re part of you bill, you’re taking the first step in defending your money. Continue reading
We all make money mistakes in our lives. I have, and what I try to do is to never make the same mistake twice. Being a man and working continuously for well over 40 years, I’ve had the chance to recoup my losses and make up for some of the money errors that might have cost me dearly now that I’m in retirement. But women, especially those who are married and are looking to raise a family, may not be so fortunate to recover from some of the same mistakes that men make for some very good reasons.
So in honor of Women’s Money Week, I’m going to look at some difficult situations and highlight the potential pitfalls that a woman may stumble over if she doesn’t deal with them early on. Time, which is often your friend when it comes to finance, can be your very best buddy if you take action sooner rather than later. Here’s what I’m talking about. Continue reading
Ten minutes isn’t really a very long time. It’s less time than it takes to play a quarter in a pro football game. You can listen to 2½ songs on the radio in 10 minutes. It’s even less time than it takes you to read your daily e-mails. In other words, it’s just a few minutes, but oh how great it is to have such an opportunity to increase your productivity, save money, build relationships, and move forward in that brief time period.
If you try some of these ideas, I think you’ll agree that these 10 minutes could wind up being the most productive 10 minutes of the day, starting today! Continue reading
Poems, songs, and proverbs have been written about time over the centuries. We talk about time every day, whether we are “saving” it, “spending” it, being “on time”, having “time off” or measuring it in some other way. After all is said and done, time is the only thing we all share and we never know exactly how much of it we will have in the end. The very last thing we should do is waste our time. It’s that important and precious, isn’t it?
In this blog I have written about some “time savers” over the past year or so. Today, I want to talk about the importance of time in a few of the ways that affect you, your family, and your finances. Continue reading
Maybe you’re in your twenties and you’ve been out and about enjoying life. You socialize with your friends most nights and you finally got that apartment you always wanted even though it cost just a little more than you wanted to pay. You have a job, but it’s not the one you really wanted. It’s a paycheck and some experience, but you really want something better. And now this…you realize that you just can’t pay all your expenses each month and you’re in big trouble! Trust me on this: you’re not alone. Many young people (and even not so young people) start out with the idea that everything will just fall into place once they’re on their own. They’re all about the fun of independence, their first apartment and job, and what seems to be a great adventure with sunshine and happiness ahead. But, the reality is you never had to manage your own money before. Mom and Dad probably helped you quite a bit and if a shortfall ever arose, well they put a bandaid on it with a loan or a gift. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s part of growing up and now that you are an adult, you need to figure it out on your own!
So you can’t pay your bills…what can you do? Continue reading