The year is halfway over since New Year’s resolutions were made. If you’ve made any regarding your finances, now is a good time to check your performance. Candidly asking yourself some simple questions will show you whether or not you are on the right track. Since January, has your credit card debt decreased? Have you checked your interest rates? Accumulated any savings? Contributed to your retirement plan? Up to date on tax payments? While New Year’s resolutions are great motivators, following up with consistency is the strategy to turn resolutions into reality.
The tiny home movement has exploded in recent years. Tiny homes, which are between 100-400 square feet, and are either on a foundation or on wheels, are currently selling and appreciating in the US faster than traditional houses. What’s the attraction? Freedom. Tiny homes are allowing people to live with all the conveniences of traditional homes, and save money. Living in tiny houses allows people to get in touch with the essential things in life, and teaches them to use resources in sustainable and creative ways. One could say that the tiny home movement isn’t just a lifestyle, but a philosophy.
Regardless of where you decide to apply for your personal loan, it pays, literally, to be prepared. The first step is to determine your creditworthiness. Your credit score will determine your next best move. While personal loans are available at traditional banks and credit unions, don’t discount online lenders and 0% APR credit cards. No matter where you choose to apply, make sure you compare the following to get the best deal: interest rates, loan fees, loan lengths and monthly payments. Also, be wary of lending options that are unfair, no matter how badly you think you need the money. Make sure you read through all the fine print and understand your costs ahead of time so that you are not worse off down the road.
The Federal Trade Commission has recently settled with a “loan matching” operation that hosted dozens of sites. Unsuspecting individuals who supplied detailed and personal information to be matched with a lender had that information sold to the first buyer, whether a proper lender or not. The FTC is warning people to do their research on online loan companies before providing any information. Conduct a thorough online search of the company name for any complaints or bad reviews. Make sure that you know who will get your information before providing it. If you believe that your personal information has been harvested inappropriately, contact the FTC.
After the 2008 market fiasco, the Fed pumped up an artificial economy to drive asset prices. And while it appears that the markets are currently booming, based upon GDP estimates, the economy is actually slowing down. Meanwhile, consumer debt, auto debt, and student loan debt have skyrocketed.The Fed should have been raising rates gradually while the market was flourishing. Instead, the Fed has created another “buy now, pay later” situation as they, just now, begin to raise interest rates to indicate the economy is in good shape. After a lengthy bull market run, investors should start reflecting on when it will all come to an end, and exercise caution.
That 10% off offer from a retail store as you are on your way out the door with a new TV may sound like a great deal. But be careful. While most store credit cards boast rewarding deals, their interest rates are usually in the mid-20% range. If you are making an expensive purchase on that day, and are certain you will pay the first bill in full, you can save money. But you should avoid opening several store accounts at the same time as it will negatively affect your credit score. Maximize your benefits and avoid credit traps by reading the fine print and comparing store credit cards incentive programs. And always remember, there is a reason store credit offers sound like a great deal, and it doesn’t have to do with you saving money.
Three Personal Finance Authors Share What People Can Learn From Their Books and What Books Are on Their Own Summer Reading Lists-Forbes
Cary Siegel, Erin Lowry, and Beth Kobliner share the personal finance skills they hope that people will learn from their books, which personal finance books are their favorites, and what books are on their summer reading list. In this interview, they discuss both the basic money management skills people need to practice to be better off with their money and in their life, and what pitfalls to avoid moving forward.
This hot, new investment trend goes by many different names: high-road investing, socially responsible investing, ethical investing, impact investing, and ESG, to name a few. As environmental, ethical and social issues become louder in the national dialogue, sustainable investing continues to thrive. So how much do you know about it? Take this fun quiz to find out.