If you are like most people, you never received instruction on personal finance in school, and your parents probably did not discuss money with you either. After you moved out, you had to muddle along on your own, figuring out on your own how to best manage your personal finances. This article will discuss a few important concepts that you need to know, and will offer a few tips on getting the most out of your money.
If you can afford to do so, open an installment account, such as a loan or car payment. These will add extra weight onto your credit profile and will increase your credit score as long as it stays within your debt to income ratio. Be careful and only take on debt you can afford.
Make the move to local banks and credit unions. Your local bank and lending institutions will have more control over how they lend money resulting in better rates on credit cards and savings accounts, which could then be reinvested in your own community. All of this, with good old-fashioned personal service!
When you’re having trouble getting rid of credit card debt, avoid adding new charges. Try to lower your expenses as best as you can and look for other payment methods, so that you don’t max your credit cards out. Pay down the complete monthly balance before making future purchases with the card.
If you and your spouse have a joint bank account and constantly argue about money, consider setting up separate bank accounts. By setting up separate bank accounts and assigning certain bills to each account, a lot of arguments can be avoided. Separate banks account also mean that you don’t have to justify any private, personal spending to your partner or spouse.
When it comes to maintaining your financial health, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is establish an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund will help you avoid sliding into debt in the event you or your spouse loses your job, needs medical care or has to face an unexpected crisis. Setting up an emergency fund is not hard to do, but requires some discipline. Figure out what your monthly expenses are and set a goal to save 6-8 months of funds in an account you can easily access if needed. Plan to save a full 12 months of funds if you are self-employed.
A major indicator of your financial health is your FICO Score so know your score. Creditors use the FICO Scores to decide how risky it is to give you credit. Each of the three major credit bureaus, Transunion, Equifax, and Experian, assigns a score to your credit record. That score goes up and down depending on your credit usage and payment history over time. A good FICO Score makes a huge difference in the interest rates you can get when buying a home or car. Check out your score before any major purchases to make sure it is a true reflection of your credit history.
To keep your personal financial life afloat, you should put a portion of every paycheck into savings. In the current economy, that can be hard to do, but even small amounts add up over time. Interest in a savings account is usually higher than your checking, so there is the added bonus of accruing more money over time.
Checkbook management, taxes, budgeting, and stock market investing are all equally important in your personal finance portfolio. Taking care of your personal finances isn’t difficult, but it does require discipline and a little education. Now that you you know the best ways to manage your money, you can put your money to work for you, turning it into a fungible resource.