- Editor’s Note: Every once in awhile, I get emails and newsletters from other units of government — state, federal and local — and they contain some stuff that’s worth passing along. Here’s some information that’s not Kane County specific but can be a good, free resource for Kane County residents.
The holidays give you the chance to spend time with loved ones and friends, catch up on your favorite TV shows—and make resolutions for the new year. While it can be overwhelming thinking about what you’ll do differently next year, focusing on your financial future is a great place to start.
- Check Your Credit Report. Because it affects your ability to get a loan or job, and can help you avoid identity theft, you should check your credit report at least once a year. Reviewing it can also help you understand your credit score, a system used by banks, credit card companies, and other businesses to figure out how likely you are to pay back money you borrow.
- Manage Your Debt to Rebuild Your Credit. It’s never easy to face financial difficulties—but ignoring your debt may cause bigger problems. Learn the things to do right away if you cannot pay your credit card bills. Recovering from a financial blow can take time. While there are no shortcuts or easy fixes, following these steps can help you rebuild your credit. And remember, you don’t have to go it alone on the road to financial security. A credit counselor can help guide you to becoming debt-free.
- Protect Yourself from Scams. When a product or opportunity sounds too good to be true, it usually is. While scams change constantly, you can learn the warning signs that can help you spot frauds and scams.
- Know Your Mortgage Rights. How to finance a home can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. You can prepare for and manage this responsibility by knowing the rules that protect you when shopping for a mortgage and your rights once you have one.
- Don’t Rush Big Financial Decisions. When choosing between financial products and services, it’s easy to feel pressured into making snap decisions. To find the best deal for you, follow these five steps for making financial decisions. Before applying for a new credit card, think about how you plan to use it and shop around to find the best card for you. And if you’re looking for someone to help manage your money, check their background carefully. To find the best service for your needs, get to know your financial adviser.
- Save for a New Financial Goal. If your financial situation changes—your income goes up or down, or priorities switch—you may need to set new objectives for yourself. To figure out where you want your money to go in the future, learn how to plan your new money goal. Saving in creative ways, like setting aside part of your next tax refund can bring you closer to that goal.
For more tips on setting and reaching your financial goals in 2016, order this free packet of publications from USA.gov, the federal government’s official website. Whether you want to buy a house, establish a realistic budget or start putting money into a rainy-day fund, the tools and information in this packet will help you get started.