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Should You Close Your Credit Cards After Paying Off the Debt?

Should You Close Your Credit Cards After Paying Off the Debt?

Credit card debt can be crippling and hard to get out of. Plus, it can take many years to pay off depending on the amount you owe and how dedicated you are to paying it off quickly. Once you’ve finally paid off the debt, you need to make sure you don’t follow the same path again. Does that mean you should close your credit cards? The answer is that it depends. Take a look at these categories and see which one you fall under to figure out what is best for you and your financial health. Prone to Temptation Do you feel like items at the store are calling your name? Do you have an urge to spend money on things that you don’t need? If you just can’t pass up those new boots, or resist a sale on golf clubs, or you grab everything that looks good in a store, then you may have an appetite for spending. Keeping your credit cards open at this time may be more of a temptation than you can handle and might cause a relapse to your old habits and an accumulation of more debt. For now, it’s probably best to close your cards, start a budget, and examine your spending habits. In Control If you can live on a budget and stick to it, passing by “wants” every time you go to the store, then you’ve got great self-control! Pat yourself on the back. If you are in this category, then you are probably ok to leave your card open and use it responsibly. However, leaving your card open is only...
How Do Student Loans Affect Your Credit Score?

How Do Student Loans Affect Your Credit Score?

Today it is incredibly hard to graduate from college without any student loans, due to higher tuition rates and less student savings. CNN Money reports that students have an average of four student loans each with an average balance of around $29,000. Graduation brings with it a new stage of life, but how will these loans affect your credit score and your ability to purchase things in the future? Many lenders who extend student loans don’t look into a person’s ability to pay the loan back. “Student loans are the only credit vehicle where a lender continues to extend credit year after year without knowing the person’s ability, or even willingness, to pay,” said Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics at Experian. Ultimately, how your student loans affect your credit score depends on your ability to make payments in a timely manner. However, there’s a little more to it than that – here’s the good and bad news about student loans and your credit. Good News Because your credit score is made up of different types of debt, a student loan can actually be beneficial to your credit score. This type of loan is usually treated as an installment loan by the credit bureaus, which is good news for you as it is weighted less heavily in your overall credit score. Also, since you may not have a long record of credit use when beginning school, a student loan is a great way to start your credit history. And because these loans have an impact on your future and school isn’t considered a luxury purchase, it is fairly easy to obtain...
Three Steps to Get Out of Credit Card Debt Quickly

Three Steps to Get Out of Credit Card Debt Quickly

It’s so easy to swipe a credit card without thinking ahead about your payments, and before you know it, you may have some serious credit card debt piled up. Because of high interest rates and low monthly payment requirements, without a solid plan of attack it could take you more than 5 + years to get out of debt! However, if you follow these 3 tips, then you could get out of debt in just one to three years. Step 1 – Find or Get a Lower Interest Rate Many credit cards have high interest rates, which means that the majority of your monthly payment amount is paying that interest and not your principle balance. The fist thing you should do immediately is lower your credit card interest rate. You want more of your hard earned dollars going to the principle balance; this will save you many years of payments, not to mention thousands of dollars! There are a few ways you can lower the interest rate: If you are in good standing, you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate with your card issuer. If they won’t budge, begin looking for a new credit card that offers 0% balance-transfer and a lower interest rate than your current card. Next, consolidate all your credit card debt to this new card in order to get rid of the highest interest rates. Step 2 – Set a Goal How many years do you think it would take to pay off that debt at your current minimum monthly payment? The answer might surprise you! You can tinker with a credit...
How to Help Your Teenager Learn to Manage Time and Money

How to Help Your Teenager Learn to Manage Time and Money

Many parents are hesitant to let their high school student work, worried that it will interfere with their grades or extra curricular activities. In some cases this may be true, but for most students, working while in school will actually help them learn how to budget their time and money. They will learn successful habits that will set them up for success as adults. The Benefit of Work In lots of ways kids are expected to do more than children of the past. However, by limiting their work experience we are hindering their financial development. The earlier they can learn the skills of time and money management, the better. If we allow our children to make small, supervised mistakes now, they will undoubtedly be more responsible adults later. Finding the Right Job Before applying for a job, have your teen consider the following questions with you: What do I enjoy doing? How many hours a week can I work? What days and times am I available? How will I get to work? This will give you both a great starting place when looking at job openings. A school counselor may also be beneficial to speak with as they may they know of jobs that help fulfill your child’s school requirements and interests. How to Budget Time Successfully Here are some tips to make sure your teen can keep up in school and work. Plan ahead- Do weekly and monthly calendar planning as a family so your teen knows when to ask for time off or is aware of any conflicts. Keep in contact with school teachers and counselors so...
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