Teaching Children to Save Early Part 1: K-4

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myFICO Kids – Making financial awareness, protection & health a part of the entire family.   Today is Teach Children to Save Day, a national program that organizes bankers who are willing to volunteer and to teach children about the importance of saving early on in life. This program has been going on since 1997 and has helped over 6 million students develop good saving habits early in life.   Saving early is essential to having a successful, debt-free life upon entering adulthood. Members of the class of 2011 graduated with an average of $26,000 in student loan debt. Had they saved or invested, I’m confident that number would be much lower. The general population believes financial education is becoming increasingly important, bordering detrimental to the … [Read more...]

Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit?

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Considering tying the knot? Congratulations! But, as any wedding couple knows, with wedding planning comes financial planning. The rings, the venue, the Pinterest-chic individualized party favors with gold flakes on them—with each addition to your perfect day comes a subtraction from your bank account.   All this spending most likely has you thinking about your financial future with your new spouse. I know how busy you are, so I’ve taken it upon myself to address the three most common questions couples ask me:   1. I don’t love my spouse’s spending habits. Should I try to teach my spouse new habits or just manage the finances myself?    One of the most important facts of life to know before you get married is that you can’t expect your spouse to … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Take Advantage
of America Saves Week

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What do primetime TV commercials, Pinterest and Starbucks have in common? They all entice you to spend, spend, spend. In the name of America Saves Week, the overspending stops here.   The annual event is designed to spread the word about healthy financial habits while providing tips and tools to take control of your own savings plan. You can take their savings plan assessment, download a poster to keep your goals in focus or test your savings knowledge.   If nothing else, consider this a good time to evaluate your spending habits and savings. Whether you’re starting from scratch or well on your way, we’ve got a tip for you.  Open a spreadsheet or log in to your favorite finance app, and take advantage of America Saves Week. Here are 5 ways to update to your savings … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Summer Time Savings

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School is out, the temperatures are rising, and you just want to save some money away.  Well now is the best time to do it. We're halfway done with the year, so you have plenty of time to save for the holidays, pay off some cards, and unless you like to splurge on fireworks, there aren't any major spending events until the school year starts. You have a few months but you don’t have to open a lemonade stand to make additional cash this summer. Instead, take these steps to save your hard-earned dollars:   Turn off the AC! Now we’re not saying you have to turn your home into a hot box, but when you aren’t there, no reason to run up your electric bill. Last person to leave for work in the morning should set the AC to the upper 70s – like 79. And after a rain or when the … [Read more...]

Cutting Workplace Costs

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We work hard for our money – but how much does your work itself cost you? Expenses like work attire, eating out, transportation, and morning coffee can eat away at that hard-earned paycheck. Make sure you’re not sabotaging your paycheck, and check out these tips to decrease your work expenses and increase savings for your personal life:   Affordable Work Attire   If you’re fresh out of college, or transitioning from a casual work environment to a more professional one, building the necessary work wardrobe can cost quite a hefty sum. To cut back on costs, invest in a few staple pieces, like suits and shoes. Although they can be expensive, high-quality garments that you will wear everyday are good investments. A pair of $100 shoes that will look nice for a few years are … [Read more...]

Unscheduled Home Repairs: Are You Financially Prepared?

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By Michele Lerner   No matter how well you maintain your home, it's inevitable that eventually either age or a manmade or natural disaster will damage some part of your property. Whether you need to pay for something as simple as replacing your water heater or as a monumental as installing an entirely new roof, your wallet will be impacted. Developing a plan to be prepared for these financial disasters can minimize the damage.   Financial experts recommend that homeowners set aside from one to three percent of their home value every year to pay for routine maintenance and as a reserve fund for an emergency repair. For a $300,000 home, that means you should have savings of $3,000 to $9,000 that you can access for home projects. You can estimate how much you may need … [Read more...]

A Diet for Your Debt

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Are you still feeling the impact of the holidays? That extra helping of turkey or that second or third cookie might have inspired you to make a resolution about losing weight.   But that's not the only place where we could use a little trimming. Our credit might also feel bloated and overweight after a Christmas season of extra spending. And when we get that credit card statement in the mail, it feels the same as adjusting your belt buckle – not good! So if you've been making a weight-related New Year's resolution, perhaps it's time to put your credit on a much-needed diet as well.   If your credit card statements are bulging, one of the first things you should do is make a plan to pay them off as quickly as possible. After all, failing to pay off your Christmas debt … [Read more...]

Good Credit Habits: The Gift that Keeps Giving

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It's everyone's favorite season! The holidays are filled with cheer, goodwill and generosity — and so much candy! You've probably spent plenty of time thinking about what to get your children, spouse, family and friends …but have you considered what to get yourself?   I'm not talking about splurging on a big-screen TV, or cute new designer shoes. It can be tempting to treat yourself to something exciting since you're already out shopping for everyone else. However, there’s one gift you can give yourself now that you’ll enjoy for years to come: the gift of developing good credit habits that will lead to a strong FICO score.   Here are just a few reasons why you should give yourself the gift of good credit habits:   -Life often throws us unexpected … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Smart Holiday Spending

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As the economy continues to sluggishly recover, each year around Black Friday retailers fret that shoppers will forgo holiday gift shopping, or drastically cut back on spending. However, a recent myFICO survey  indicated that while folks plan to flex their credit cards this holiday season, most are planning a modest budget — 65% of respondents said they’d expect to charge less than $500 on their credit cards this year. That’s good news for retailers and for shoppers’ credit health. But it’s one thing to plan not to overspend, and another thing to successfully execute said plan. How many of us plan not to overindulge on treats at holiday parties, but inadvertently wind up with a belly ache, a scattering of red & green crumbs around our shirt, wondering how we managed to pack in that … [Read more...]

Don’t Let Black Friday Darken Your FICO Score

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Rev up your wallet! The holiday shopping season kicks off this Friday after Thanksgiving, and retailers hope to attract us with big sales events and special operating hours so we’ll buy, buy, buy.   In addition, many retailers will work hard to persuade you to open new credit card accounts. They may offer sweet enticements such as an extra 10% discount on all purchases you make that day - or they might give you a special gift just for applying.   It's easy to get caught up, as retailers make applying for store credit so convenient and easy.  Just give the sales clerk your name and address, and within seconds you’ll know if you've been approved for instant credit at your fingertips.   Unfortunately, many of us don’t understand that applying for credit can … [Read more...]

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