Manage the Money You EarnMany works of fiction feature eccentric individuals who stuff their life savings in old coffee cans or stow their stock certificates under mattresses. Hiding your assets in such colorful ways may be creative—and entertaining to audiences. But it’s not realistic or recommended.
If you’re interested in reaching your financial goals, you’ve got to do more than simply store your money. You’ve got to manage it actively, using four basic money-management tools:
- Saving. Deposit your money in a government-insured account for security and convenience.
- Investing. Help your money grow by purchasing stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
- Borrowing wisely. Manage your debt so that you borrow what you need, but don’t overextend yourself.
- Getting the right advice. Before you set out on your money management adventure, it’s best to learn what financial professionals can offer you and how you can best use their services.
Those living on a tight budget still need to take steps to manage the money they have. Some special money-management strategies can help you stretch your dollars and enhance your financial security.
What You Should Know: Managing Less Money
You don’t have to be a millionaire to be concerned about managing your money. Even people with modest means need to do financial planning. This will ensure that the money they have remains secure and continues to grow.
Consumers with moderate and low incomes have many options when it comes to managing their money. Learning about these options can help you make the most of your money.
No Bank Account? Try an ETA
There’s a new type of low-cost bank account called an Electronic Transfer Account (ETA). If you don’t have a bank account, an ETA gives you a way to receive your federal government payments electronically. ETAS cost only $3 a month or less.
Cashing a Check? Pay Less at a Bank
Consumers who don’t have bank accounts may be tempted to take their salary or benefits checks to special stores that cash checks for a fee. Before you pay money to cash a check, think about opening a checking account instead. You could be paying more to cash one check at a check-cashing store than you would pay a bank each month to open a checking account. Plus, a bank account can help you save and establish a credit history.
Qualify for Lower Bank Fees
Asking the right questions could help lower your bank’s account fees. See if your bank will lower your checking fees if you are a senior citizen, keep a minimum balance in their account, or use direct deposit.
Can’t Get a Credit Card? Try a Secured Card
Does your income or credit history make it hard to get a regular credit card? Maybe you should consider getting a secured credit card. To get a secured credit card, you’ll have to:
- Pay a non-refundable fee.
- Deposit about $300 into a savings account as a security deposit.
If you fail to pay your credit card bill, the lender will deduct what you owe from your deposit. You’ll receive that security deposit back, minus any money you owe, when you cancel your card. Don’t call an 800-number to apply for a secured credit card. It could be a scam. Apply for a card with a lender you know.
Can’t Get A Conventional Loan? Try an Unconventional One!
Can’t afford a conventional loan to do needed home repairs? Find out about other types of low-interest loans that government and nonprofit agencies offer. To start your search:
- Call your county or city government and ask about home repair programs.
- If you are over age 65, call your local Office on Aging for information on special programs or options.
- Check with your local bank to see if it offers lows that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
- Stay away from "Payday Loans." The annual interest rate for these 2-week loans can be as high as 40 percent!
For more information call consumer Credit Counseling at 1-800-251-2227 or contact their Web site at www.cccsinc.org.
You may also call Pacific Employee Assistance for more information at 253-697-8350 or 877-223-7428.