During difficult economic times, intelligently managing your personal finances can mean the difference between living comfortably, and losing your home or being forced to file for bankruptcy protection. This article was written with the average person in mind. It is designed to help you improve your financial situation by teaching you to intelligently manage your personal finances.
Be careful not to make any long distance calls while traveling. Most cellphones have free roaming these days. Even if you are sure your cellphone has free roaming, read the fine print. Make sure you are aware of what “free roaming” entails. Similarly, be careful about making calls at all in hotel rooms.
Banks offer two different types of loans: fixed and variable interest rate loans. Try to avoid variable interest rate loans at any cost as they can turn into a disaster. Fixed rate loans will have the same interest rate throughout the loan’s life. The interest rate of the variable rate loans and their monthly payments change either by following the fluctuations of the market or the contract between the bank and the borrower. The monthly payment can easily reach a level the borrower can’t afford.
Choosing the right schools can affect your personal finance. One of the most cost effective ways to get a prestigious degree or certification is by attending cheaper schools for part of your education, and switch over to a more expensive or better-ranked school for the remainder. Your credits will merge from the previous school and you will still gain the graduation benefits from the new school.
Pay special attention to the details if you finance your car. Most finance companies require you to purchase full coverage, or they have the right to repossess your vehicle. Do not fall into a trap by signing up for liability only if your finance company requires more. You have to submit your insurance details to them, so they will find out.
Instead of going to a car dealership and signing a lease for a new car, take a look at all of the used cars in the lot. Sometimes it is better to purchase a used car, as you will pay a much lower price and have resale value in the end.
Always have money in your savings account in case of an emergency. You can either save for something specific, like your child’s college education, or pay off debt with the extra money.
One of the most important things a consumer can do in today’s economy is be financially smart about credit cards. In the past consumers were allowed to write off interest on their credit cards on their tax return. For some years now this has no longer been the case. For this reason, the most important habit consumers can have is pay off as much of their credit card balance as possible.
Check your credit at least yearly. The government provides free credit reports for its citizens every year. You can also get a free credit report if you are declined credit. Keeping track of your credit will allow you to see if there are incorrect debts or if someone has stolen your identity.
Study your losses and learn from them. Many people like to ignore their losses and move on, but investigating them helps you to avoid making the same mistakes again. And after all, these mistakes cost you money; consider them a mini-course in what not to do and then you move on.
If you are traveling overseas, be sure to contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know. Many banks are alerted if there are charges overseas. They may think the activity is fraudulent and freeze your accounts. Avoid the hassle by simple calling your financial institutions to let them know.
Trusts are not only intended for people with a lot of wealth. A trust allows you to say where your assets will go in the event of your death. Dealing with this in advance can save a lot of grief, as well as protect your assets from creditors and higher taxation.
Remember, intelligently managing your personal finances is the key to wealth and security. In an economic downturn, being careless or foolish with your money can have grave consequences. Carefully read the tips in this article, and apply what you learn to your own personal financial situation. By doing so, you can protect yourself from financial ruin.