In recognition of Financial Literacy Month in April, Capital One Financial Corporation offers consumers 10 helpful tips on managing their money.
"Whether you are buying a home, saving for retirement or for your children’s education, or even to effectively manage the family budget, understanding the basics of personal finance is a critical skill," said Diana Don, Director of Financial Education at Capital One. "Taking the time to master the basics of money management, consumers can help ensure better economic success for themselves and for their families in the future."
In partnership with national consumer advocacy organization, Consumer Action, Capital One has developed the MoneyWi$e program to provide consumers with helpful financial tools and information. Consumers visiting the site can access a variety of free, multilingual financial education materials to guide them in making smart financial choices.
Ten tips for a better financial future:
Establish financial goals– before creating a budget, you must first consider and establish your own financial goals. Short-term goals could include setting aside money to cover regular household expenses or saving toward an annual family vacation. Long-term financial goals might include planning for retirement or saving for a second home.
Develop a realistic budget that you can stick to – create a budget that captures all of your household expenditures, including setting aside money for saving. This ensures you are in control of your financial situation and on track to meet your financial goals.
Make frequent and regular deposits into a high interest savings account or money market account – your financial success begins with your willingness to save. Using an account that bears a higher interest will help you save more quickly.
Contribute to company sponsored 401(k) plans or IRA fund – Retirement is expensive. Many experts estimate that you will need about 70 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. Depositing money on a regular basis to a tax-sheltered retirement savings plan makes it easier to save money over time, with compound interest and tax deferrals making a big difference in the amount you accumulate.
Pay bills on time to avoid paying late fees– it is important for you to pay your bills on time to avoid extra charges and to protect your credit rating. If you do not pay your bills on time, you will end up paying more than you owe because of the late fees and finance charges.
Consider comparison shopping for must have items – comparison shopping can have a big payoff for just a small amount of work, especially if you use the Internet. Oftentimes, you can compare the product features and process on specific goods. Having information can help you make informed purchasing decisions.
Be proactive in managing debt – pay your bills on time, or contact your lender if you are having difficulty making your payments to discuss options.
Always be sure to read the fine print on any loan agreement or credit card information – the all important details about interest rates, late fees and how much cash advances cost are all found there.
Correct any mistakes on your credit report – credit reports can contain mistakes, and it’s your responsibility to correct them by contacting each of the three major credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Consumers are eligible for one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Copies can be requested online at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.
Talk to your kids money – It’s important for parents to actively engage and talk to their children about money. Unfortunately, many kids are not getting the information at schools so it’s dependent upon parents to teach these lessons at home.