Do you give yourself high marks when it comes to making financial decisions? Do you feel in control of your financial situation? Or do you feel your finances are a runaway train and you are just closing your eyes and hoping for the best? More than one third of adults admit they spend more than they can afford, and nearly 30 percent don't know the interest rates on their credit cards. What about you? Sarah J. Halpin CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Vice President-Investments with The Danforth Group of Wells Fargo Advisors has some questions on "Are You a Financial Catch or a Financial Wreck?"
- I ignore paying bills and use the money to go on spa weekends.
- I buy items out of guilt for my children, whether or not I can afford them.
- When I'm stressed out or anxious, I spend money I don't have because it makes me feel better.
Your emotions may be sabotaging your financial goals. Awareness is the first step in overcoming money hang ups. Understanding the why we do the things we do. We and our financial circumstances are often the result of our experiences. Seek out resources that can help you examine your money beliefs and behaviors to help you develop a healthier relationship with money.
- I always use manufacturer's and retailer's coupons when possible, and send in for rebates.
- I always keep my receipts and total them weekly so that I can track against my budget.
- I always pay my credit card purchases in full when the statement arrives, and never pay interest charges or penalty fees of any type.
Signs are that this person practices some great money management habits. They are tracking their spending, trying to live within their means and managing credit card balances responsibly.
- I use my credit card, to make my car payment.
- I don't tell my partner when I get a bonus and I spend it on things I want.
- I regularly open retail card accounts to snag discounts and once I've paid off the debt I close the accounts.
When you use credit cards to pay off other cards and loans to pay off other loans you're not paying off anything. You're just shuffling your debt around and may be incurring more debt each time you do so. Hiding money and purchases can create trust issues in your relationship. Opening up department store card so you can get the 10 percent discount on your purchase and then closing the accounts can hurt your credit score. Opening up new accounts can set off a red flag that you're taking on too much debt. Credit scorers consider the length of your credit history and your amount of available credit as positives so closing accounts will hurt your debt to credit ratio and your credit score.
- I contribute the maximum amount of money to my employer-sponsored retirement plan, in order to get the maximum employer match every year.
- I prepare a list annually of everything we own and everything we owe and share it with my partner.
- I request a free copy of my credit report annually and check that the information is correct.
Saving for retirement, annually updating and sharing your family's net worth and annually requesting and checking your credit report are all prudent financial habits.
The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your personal investment situation. Individuals should consult with their chosen financial professional before making any decisions. Investment services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC member SIPC. Neither Wells Fargo Advisors nor its financial professionals are tax or legal advisors.