It's possible to meet your financial
goals - whether your income is small, medium or large.
By looking for good information on managing
your finances, along with choosing to budget, save and use credit wisely,
- Buy a home.
- Send your child to college.
- Start a business.
- Pay off debts.
- Put money away for a rainy day.
- Save for retirement.
No matter who you are, you can take
charge of your financial future. Start today!
To get you started, here are some simple
Most people who have money didn't get
it overnight. They set goals and worked hard to reach them.
TRY THIS: Write down your short-term
and long-term goals. An example of a short-term goal is saving up for
holiday gifts; a long-term goal is saving for a home.
- Set due dates for reaching your goals.
- Be realistic.
- Be flexible. (It's OK to adjust your
goals and strategies.)
- Go back and look at your goals after
six months to check your progress.
out where your money is going. Unless you're tracking your money, it's
probably not going where you really want it to.
TRY THIS: Write down your total
monthly take-home pay. Then list your monthly expenses. At the end of
the month, subtract those expenses from your total pay.
- Look for places to save.
- Use this information to set a monthly
budget that includes saving.
- Review how things are going each
Carry a small notebook. Write down everything you spend. Include small
things like candy bars.
amounts of money saved regularly add up fast. Compound interest, which
lets you earn interest on interest, will make your savings grow even faster.
TRY THIS: Open a savings account.
Have part of your paycheck deposited directly into your savings account
- Shop for the best interest rates.
- Understand all fees and charges.
- Take advantage of your company's
401 (k) or invest in an IRA (individual retirement account).
- As your income rises, increase the
percentage you save.
- Know that the greater the potential
profit on an investment, the greater the potential risk of losing your
The earlier in life you start saving, the more you'll have later.
Borrowing can help you meet your long-term
goals for an education, car or home. But borrowing for day-to-day needs
and wants gets many people into financial trouble.
TRY THIS: Before using your credit
card, getting a payday loan, renting-to-own or borrowing against your
home's equity, ask yourself if you really need to borrow the money.
- Avoid spur-of-the-moment purchases.
- Set a monthly limit on credit card
- Pay more than the minimum on your
credit card bill.
TIP: THE MINIMUM
It would take 61 years to pay off a $5,000 credit card balance if you
make only the minimum monthly payment. You would pay almost $16,000* in
* Assuming a 14% interest rate
and minimum payment of 1.5% of the outstanding balance.
Your Credit Rating
Lenders use credit reports to decide
whether to loan money. Insurance companies, landlords and employers also
check credit reports. A report that shows defaults or late payments- even
30 days late-can mean not getting a loan or paying a higher interest rate.
TRY THIS: Find out your credit
rating. Call a credit bureau for a copy of your report.
- Pay all bills on time.
- If you're having trouble paying bills,
get advice from a reputable nonprofit organization before you become
- Check your credit report every year.
- Alert the credit bureau if you see
errors in your report.
TIP: CREDIT BUREAUS
Trans Union 1-800-888-4213
When you borrow money, you have a right
and a responsibility to know all the loan's terms and conditions. Ask
questions and compare interest rates and fees. Know what's at stake if
you don't make your payments.
TRY THIS: Before you borrow money,
ask these questions:
- What is the interest rate?
- What are all the fees?
- How much will I have paid in interest
when the loan is paid off?
- Can I pay it off early without penalty?
AND THIS: Shop around and compare.
Don't get taken.
- Question an offer that makes borrowing
sound too good to be true.
- Always read and understand the fine
- Seek help if you need it.
TIP: SAVE MONEY WITH
THE RIGHT LOAN
the Lowest Rate
Car Loan for 5 Years
|ABC Car loan
|XYZ Finance Company
the Shortest Term
Car Loan at 10 Percent Interest
|Number of payments
Getting the right information can help
you gain control of your finances.
TRY THIS: When you need information,
make sure the source is reliable.
- Know who you are dealing with.
- Make sure the resource is credible
and properly trained, accredited or certified.
- Ask for references.
- Understand any fees or charges.
- Make sure they're not trying to sell
a product or service.
- Avoid resources that charge excessive
- Ask questions.
TRY THIS: Look for organizations
in your community that can help you learn more about setting financial
goals, budgeting, saving, using credit wisely and getting the best deal.
Here are some possibilities:
- Nonprofit credit counseling service
- Community college
- Bank or credit union
- Nonprofit community development corporation
- Nonprofit housing organization
- Religious organization
- Senior citizen center
- Employee assistance program
- Cooperative extension service