Strong financial habits don’t just happen. You have to practice them over time, like regular exercise or good eating habits. Unfortunately, our credit-driven society encourages us to spend more than we can afford, so many Americans are not saving because of debt. If you can develop good financial habits early, then you will see the benefits for the rest of your life.
If you have been thinking about buying a house, it’s never too early to start saving. Most home sales require 20% of the purchase price as a down payment, or substantially less if you are a first-time homebuyer. The sooner you start saving, the sooner you will be ready to do some serious house hunting.
April is Financial Literacy Month, and teaching the next generation how to be financially independent can be one of the greatest gifts you give to your children. Too many millennials and members of Generation Z graduate high school without understanding even the basics of personal finance, such as balancing a checkbook. Sure, they understand how to use smartphone apps to pay for coffee or send cash to friends for concert tickets, but they don’t know anything about managing their money.
Whether you just purchased a new home or have been living in your house for some time, there is always something you want to improve. Home remodeling can give your house a face-lift and make it more functional, and more marketable. In fact, many homeowners decide to fix up their property before they sell to get the best price. If you have decided that now is the time to remodel your home, then budgeting has to be your first step.
We all hate debt, but Americans today are carrying more household debt than ever before. By the second quarter of 2018, American household debt had exceeded $13.2 trillion, and debt levels are 21.4% higher than the total household debt following the 2013 financial crisis. At the same time, wages are stagnant—and they did not grow at all between June 2017 and June 2018. More households are struggling to pay their bills, and more Americans are seeking new strategies for debt consolidation.
How often do you use your credit card? Do you use it to buy groceries, gasoline, or clothes? Do you do a lot of online shopping? Are you a travel fanatic, and do you use your card to take regular trips? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are a potential victim of credit card fraud.
Credit card payments are an ongoing issue in most households. If you don’t pay the balance each month, those credit cards will start accumulating interest fees, and suddenly you can find yourself with much higher monthly payments than you budgeted for. What’s worse, over time the cost of those interest fees can add up to more than the actual charges. To avoid paying high credit card interest rates, many people make a balance transfer to another card that offers lower or no interest. This can be a good strategy that will save you money in the long run, if you understand the pluses and minuses of a balance transfer.
Everyone dreams of being their own boss, but not everyone has what it takes to start a small business. However, starting a lucrative small business, even a side hustle, has never been easier. Whether you have grandiose plans or just want to make a modest income, the steps to setting up any small business are essentially the same.
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions in your life, and for many, it can be one of the most intimidating. There are so many considerations, such as where to buy, what you need in a home, how big your down payment should be, how much you can afford, and more. There also is so much paperwork with mortgage approvals, inspections, disclosures, and so on.
Have you ever thought about the difference between a bank and a credit union? Banks are part of a national or global business with local branches that offer financial services such as checking and savings accounts, mortgages, and loans. Credit unions offer those same services—checking, savings, retirement accounts, mortgages, loans. But credit unions serve a specific region or group, and they don’t have customers; they have members. The biggest difference between banks and credit unions can be summed up in a single word—community.