If you were feeling relieved by our coverage of the debt ceiling in January, it may be time to re-position your focus. There’s more trouble in Washington D.C. this week. Mandatory spending cuts—scheduled to take effect March 1— represent a $1.2 trillion reduction in federal spending over the next 10 years. Although some are quick to praise the cost-cutting efforts, the general opinion is one of opposition. If allowed, the sequester’s indiscriminate cuts will produce losses in public education, jobs, healthcare, and more.
As we’ve learned time and again, the nature of politics is fickle. Whether or not the sequester comes to fruition, it is important to prepare yourself for every situation. Keep the following tips in mind along the way. While no one wishes for the worst-case-scenario, bracing for it could mean the difference between safety and vulnerability.
It pays to check your credit report. On February 11, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a study detailing some shocking information*: …
Credit is your most important financial resource. Pick up any newspaper or magazine today and you will undoubtedly spot headlines that discuss the use or misuse of credit. Any smart consumer knows that big-ticket items (think cars and houses) will always be just out of reach without good credit, or a mountain of cash. Even small purchases are often cheaper when you use your own good credit to buy them. Stores offer discounts for buying with credit instead of cash and sometimes provide promotions and coupons to their preferred credit card holders. The bottom line: good credit saves you money and gets you the things you need and want.
It’s no secret that Bill Gates understands money. To help others reach a similar understanding, he recently founded the Better Than Cash Alliance, an organization aimed at helping poor Americans achieve financial inclusion by learning how to use electronic payment methods.
Poor Americans aren’t the only ones threatened by a cash-only lifestyle. While some may fear “spending money I don’t have,” or “paying interest on a bag of groceries,” using credit wisely is step one on the path to a strong financial reputation. Below are just a few of the benefits of using debit and/or credit in your daily life. If you fear credit and its uses, allow these reasons to open your eyes.
Why is credit better than cash?
Your Social Security Number (SSN) is the key to your identity. This nine-digit number is also the key that opens the door to identity theft. When doctors, lawyers, employers, and creditors are all asking for your SSN, who can you trust? Is it mandatory to provide it, or can you say no? Keep the following details in mind before handing out proprietary information. The FTC reported over a quarter-million identity theft cases last year. Avoid the need for credit repair by staying off the list.
Who needs your Social Security Number?