It's spooky season! And while we all love a good jump scare, too many people are afraid to dig into their daily dollar-and-cents to see what lies beneath.
Taking control of your money doesn't have to be scary. With time, discipline, and the right information, you can conjure a financial future with a happy ending. Here's how to tackle your fiscal fears.
Don't be afraid of the plastic.
When it comes to credit cards, horror stories abound. Although they may be costly if mismanaged, credit cards are also a valuable financial tool that may build or improve your credit when used responsibly. Learn how credit cards work, what features to look for, and how to manage a credit card responsibly.
I know what you spent last month.
Does the idea of setting a household budget send shivers down your spine? You're not alone. One report shows that only two out of every five families use a household budget to take control of their finances.
Budgeting and planning family finances are crucial to controlling spending and planning for a healthy financial future. If you know where your money is going each month, you can start achieving your financial goals and put your whole family on the path to financial success.
Interview with a credit agency.
Ignoring your creditworthiness can have grave consequences. Credit scores and reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests, or even job applications. Understanding how credit scores and reports work may help you achieve financial goals such as buying a home, leasing a car, or paying off debt.
If you have some skeletons in your financial closet, knowledge is the best way to banish them. Start by reviewing your credit report to identify and correct any errors.
Federal law requires the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask. You can get free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Reviewing credit reports can also help you catch signs of identity theft early.
Night of the living debt.
One survey shows that approximately 80% of Americans are currently in debt. Yikes!
It might surprise you that debt doesn't have to be negative — taking out certain types of loans for certain purchases may help bolster your credit and act as an investment opportunity. Either type of debt must be managed responsibly.
Whether from a credit card, student loan, or mortgage, understanding how debt works, knowing where to go for help, and making a plan are the keys to helping you better manage your debt.
Invasion of the identity snatchers.
It is something out of a nightmare – a stranger stealing your money, security, and even your name.
Identity theft is a crime in which another person steals your personal information to commit fraud. Every year, millions of U.S. residents report that their identity has been stolen and used for fraud. Learn how to protect your identity and the steps to take if your personal information is stolen.