There are times in life we all have had debt, sometimes more than others. If your resolution is to payoff your debt once and for all, it takes conscious efforts on your part.
This is a great article about breaking your spending addiction, not only paying off your debt but staying debt free.
You have heard about all the security breaches – from major retail chain stores to credit bureaus and more. You can’t turn on the news or read a newspaper without learning about another breach.
Because of this, I have always encouraged you to freeze your credit to lessen your changes of identity theft. Well tomorrow is a big day for consumers. Credit report freezes will become free – no more small fee to freeze your credit and another small fee to unfreeze – all this adds up. As of tomorrow, September 21, 2018 and just after the one year anniversary of the Equifax breach, there will be no cost to freeze your credit.
Please remember that you will receive a PIN with your freeze. You will need to keep this in a safe place, but not so safe that you forget where you put it to unfreeze your credit.
In addition, fraud alerts will now be available for 1 year (it was 90 days in the past).
Get out there and take advantage of the free credit freeze tomorrow!
At this time of year we are getting ready for back to school. Along with all the things happening, sometimes cybersecurity isn’t something that you are thinking about. But it should be.
Your kids are creating new accounts and with that comes passwords. I am reruning a past newsletter on How To Use A Unique Password For Every Account Without Going Crazy.
In addition, Lass Pass’ blog has a great post on .
Make sure to do these steps and share with your kids to be safer online. A little time now could save you hours later.
If you love to travel like we do, you better read on. Do you owe the IRS money? If you owe a substantial money and haven’t made payment arrangements, your passport could be in jeopardy.
Here’s some more information from AARP’s travel newsletter.
Another reason to stay on top of your finances.
Here is Connecticut we have been experiencing a heat wave (although the weekend was great), we have another 90+ days ahead!
So in an effort to stay cool, let’s take about credit freezes. Have you done this?
If you don’t plan on needing credit in the near future, you may want to consider this. A credit freeze is one way to help protect your identity from being stolen. You freeze your credit reports (yes, all three credit reports), so that no one can access your credit report (not even you) to open new accounts.
The reason why I say not needing your credit in the near future, is because there is a cost to freezing and unfreezing your credit report. So if you have plans to open a new credit card, finance the purchase of a car, buy or refinance a home in the near future, this could be costly.
Here is a great article from AARP walking you through the steps of a credit freeze.
A reader asked me about how to save to purchase a home, when your money doesn’t allow much for savings.
That’s a great question. But not an easy one to answer.
We all know that saving should be a priority. But we have monthly obligations. So here are so general steps to achieve what you want (in this case a home).
- Track your spending – many people overlook this step. Trust me this is the most important step in achieving your goal. Write down every penny that you spend for at least a month. Track everything from the rent payment to purchase of the newspaper.
- Weekly (or more often) take your tracked numbers and put it in to a budget.
- Analyze where your money is going and make a plan to spend less. Even saving $5 a week will add up.
- Automate your savings goals and pay yourself first. You will learn to live off less if you don’t see it available in your checking account. You may want to unlink your checking and savings (or have them with separate banks).
- Lastly, look into home ownership programs in your community.
- Check out to see if you qualify for an Individual Development Account to save for a down payment.
While it’s hard to save money each and every month. It a necessary step in life to achieving your goals.
In my last post, I suggested that you consider freezing your credit. Another option would be credit monitoring. I personally am not a fan of paying for a service that you can do yourself for free. This is how you do this yourself.
You can review your credit three times per year for FREE! The Credit Card Act of 2010 lets you have a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies once every 365 days. I suggest that instead of you accessing your credit report once a year, that you access your credit report three separate times in a year and do this yourself.
We make that easy for you. If you subscribe to this newsletter, Money Choices (www.JillRussoFoster.com) you will receive a reminder email three times per year to access your credit report. This will not be posted on social media, you will have to subscribe to Money Choices to get this reminder. Do this today, as your next reminder is coming in a few weeks. You can then see what is happening on your credit report and catch any suspicious activity. Sign up today!
With all the news lately (and previously), it seems that every day there is another breach. And these are only the ones that make the news!
So what should you do:
- Consider a credit freeze (yes, there is a cost involved)
- Check your bank and credit card accounts frequently (in my opinion at least once a week)
- Make sure your user ID and passwords are different – no two sites should be the same. If this is too many to remember, consider a password mana ger.
- If you have used one of these companies that have been breached, change your password, request a new credit card – be proactive.
Nothing is 100% foolproof, but taking theses steps can lessen your risk.
Welcome to 2019!
I hope you had a great holiday and are looking forward to another year beginning.
2018 was a challenging year. The Federal reserve raised interests rates four times – yikes! The stock market lost all of it’s gains for the year. What does that mean to you? Rising interest can mean larger monthly payments. Stock market loses could mean less money for retirement. Let’s talk about what rising interest rates means to your wallet.
Mortgages / Home Equity Lines
Do you have a fixed or variable interest rate on your mortgage? If you have a variable rate, that could mean your interest rate could go up. For an adjustable rate first mortgages, they typically change at a certain point (see you mortgage documents), but most home equity lines of credit change as interest rates change. High interest rates means larger payment is due. This might be the time to modify to refinance to a fixed rate.
Most credit cards typically have variable interest rates. High interest means a larger minimum payment is due. If you carry a balance from month to month, you may want to transfer your debt to a zero or lower interest rate credit card while you are paying down your debt.
You never know what is going to happen, so you need to be prepared for whatever life throws at you. Be proactive and your debt paid off, so that interest rate hikes won’t hurt your finances.