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10 things not to do & 10 things to do

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

I've talked to consumers, counselors, and financial experts to come up with these Top 10 lists of things you should and should not do regarding your finances.

Top 10 things not to do:

  1. Don’t pay for bad habits. Little things can really add up. For example, don’t leave the air conditioner on full blast all day; you’ll add 5% on your cooling costs for each degree.
  2. Do not pay ridiculous fees. ATM fees, over the limit fees, late fees are all a waste of money.
  3. Do not confuse the terms ‘qualify’ and ‘afford.’ Just because someone will lend you the money, doesn’t mean that you can comfortably pay the bill month after month.
  4. Do not mistake shopping as a recreational sport. Emotional spending doesn’t work. Instead, try to always remember how great it feels to have peace of mind.  
  5. Don’t use the IRS like a piggy bank. There is no reason to take your hard-working money out of commission. Just think, if your annual refund is $1,000, that means you could increase your take-home pay by more than $83 a month.
  6. Don’t pay someone to “fix” your less-than-perfect credit reports. There is no company or person that can repair your credit any better than you can.
  7. Don’t underestimate the impact of blending friends and money. Lending money to a friend can end up costing you much more than the amount of the loan. And be very careful when blend finances with a significant other until you have legal protections, such as a marriage might offer.
  8. Don’t ever take out a payday loan. Quick cash loans, often called payday loans or cash advance loans, are short-term, high-fee loans that can turn a temporary setback into a major financial crisis.
  9. Don’t listen to advertisers who sell the idea of entitlement. To be entitled means that you are guaranteed something regardless of what you do. You may deserve everything you have ever wanted— that’s not the point. The key is to be happy with the things you already have.
  10. Do not count on winning the lottery. There is a really, really good chance that you won’t.

Top 10 things to do:

  1. Save now for your future. You’ve heard it a million times because it’s true: the eighth wonder of the world is compound interest.
  2. Communicate openly. Research consistently shows that money is the most common source of disagreement for couples, regardless of age or life stage. Approaching the issues honestly and openly gives you a much better chance at a strong, healthy financial relationship.
  3. Pay down debt. Too much debt is not merely a financial problem. Financial problems can negatively impact job performance, health, and personal relationships.
  4. Teach your children. Too many young adults have to learn about money from the school of hard knocks. Remember, children learn more from what they see you do than from what you tell them.
  5. Shop around. Your creditors would not just accept you at face value, so why the double standard? Shop for credit as you would shop before making a major purchase.
  6. Protect yourself from ID theft. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America with millions of victims each year. Furthermore, identity theft victims spend hundreds of millions of hours each year resolving problems related to identity theft.
  7. Build a good credit history. Your creditworthiness matters most when you are trying to obtain credit. Credit reports might also matter when renting an apartment, obtaining insurance or securing some types of employment.
  8. Plan for periodics. At the very least, be prepared for periodic expenses such as auto repair bills and Christmas. Ideally, you should also be prepared for medical debt, divorce, and a job loss; even if you are lucky enough to avoid these financial disasters.
  9. Know your rights. Solving credit problems can take a lot of time and effort. However, by educating yourself about your legal rights (FCRA, FCBA, ECOA, FDCPA) you can ensure that you are treated fairly. 
  10. Get help if you need it. Assemble a financial team. Members might include a lawyer, a tax advisor, a credit counselor, and a financial planner.

If you have something you'd like to add to either list, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment on this post.

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June is National Homeownership Month!

A home is more than a place to live; it is a financial asset, a place to raise a family and an investment in the community.  Knowledge is the key, whether you are a first time homebuyer, considering a reverse mortgage, or struggling to prevent foreclosure.  Learn more about buying, financing, mainlining, and protecting your largest asset.

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The goal of our highly trained professionals is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to take control of your financial situation. Our online seminars stress the development of skills that can assure long-term success. You will gain the peace of mind that comes from improved spending habits, increased savings, and the wise use of credit. Take the first step toward financial wellness by enrolling in a Web seminar today!

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Education is key during National Homeownership Month

 

MMI is celebrating National Homeownership Month throughout June by providing potential and existing homeowners with valuable tips and tools. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re facing foreclosure, MMI offers a variety of financial and educational options.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognizes this month as a time to encourage the benefits of owning and maintaining a home. At MMI we know that many Americans are facing the nightmare of foreclosure. Therefore, it’s important to educate yourself when you are considering investing in a home. After all, a home is more than just a place to live – it’s a financial asset.

For homeowners who are facing a housing crisis, MMI offers the following help:

Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline - MMI is proud to be one of the organizations supporting the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline, providing foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation counseling services. Every day thousands of homeowners from across the nation call the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline.

Reverse Mortgage Counseling - MMI is approved by HUD to provide counseling required by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to complete an application for a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), is a type of loan that allows homeowners who are 62 years of age or older to convert part of the equity in their homes into tax-free income. Reverse mortgages are wonderful financial tools for certain individuals; however, it is a very important financial decision. If you are considering a reverse mortgage the first step is to talk with a reverse mortgage counselor.

MMI also offers classes for first-time homebuyers, financial webinars, and housing podcasts. Visit the updated Homeownership and Home Loans section of MoneyManagement.org to learn more.

 


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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit MoneyManagement.org.

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