Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Once the New Year begins, it’s all about the ghost of credit card bills to come. And they’ll be showing up in your mailbox in the next couple of weeks.
It feels so good to give, but after the holidays are over, it’s time to rein in your spending and set some new financial goals. I always make some New Year’s financial resolutions, and then at the end of the year I look back to make sure I’m on track with my spending, saving, and charitable giving.
Here are the two financial resolutions I make every year: save more and spend less.
1. Save more.
I always try to save at least 10 percent of my gross annual income, though that doesn’t always happen. What my husband and I are able to do is save a lot more in some years, so that balances out the odd year when we’re not able to save as much.
I’m often asked by people how much they should save. The answer is easy: as much as you can. A new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that couples might need as much as $650,000 to pay for health benefits through retirement. That’s quite a chunk of change. Saving more now will help offset that expense down the line.
But if you’re looking for something manageable, start by figuring out how much you saved last year in every possible bucket: 401(k), 403(b), 457, IRA, or other qualified retirement plan; Roth IRA or Roth 401(k); checking or savings account; non-retirement brokerage account; 529 college savings plan; and other savings vehicles, such as CDs, money market accounts, and HSA accounts.
Let’s say you saved 5 percent of your gross annual income ($2,500 for every $50,000 earned) in one of these vehicles. Try to double that. If you’re getting a salary increase this year, try to salt it away in your 401(k) or other savings accounts. Ask if you can have part of your check direct deposited into these accounts, because if you don’t see it, you probably won’t spend it. If you’re getting a bonus along with or instead of a raise, try to bank it.
If you’re getting a check back from the IRS for overpayment of taxes, try to bank that when you get it instead of spending it.
This year, we’re hoping to put away 15 percent of our gross annual income in a variety of savings vehicles. I’ll let you know next year if we get there.
2. Spend less.
If you’re having trouble finding ways to save more money, you should take on my second New Year’s resolution and try to find ways to spend less every day.
It’s amazing how spending less really translates into significant savings before too long, and without that much effort.
You start by trading down from a big expense to a smaller expense, and then eliminate that expense altogether.
Let’s say you go to the movies once a week. In my neighborhood theater, it’s $10 per ticket, or $40 every time my husband and I take the kids to the movies. If we buy popcorn and candy, it’s another $20. If we eat dinner out, it’s a $100 night out. That’s pretty expensive.
What we’ve done is trade down to making movie night out something we save for very special events. We go out to the movies only a few times a year, usually when there’s a movie that we can’t wait to see, like the new Harry Potter film. We have cable at home, so we leverage the savings of movie night against the expense of cable.
If you use a service like Netflix, where you’re paying around $10 for one rental per month plus unlimited movie streaming online, the savings can add up fairly quickly.
I’m not suggesting you go cold turkey and never see another movie or eat out in another restaurant. But trading down from eating out every week to eating out once a month can help you find additional ways to accumulate savings.
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate atThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.
The Best Way To Value Investment Property
How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent
Will the Real Estate Summer Slowdown Mean Lower Prices?
No More Home Buyer Tax Credits: Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House?
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.