Finance Quick Answers
What are some financial resolutions I can make for myself?
Take a positive step this month - improve your financial fitness. Whether you are a neatnik or a pack rat, a saver or a spender, a couch potato or a pathfinder, try one or more of these financial resolutions:
- Update your will if needed.
- Set up a filing system for financial records so receipts can be saved in an orderly fashion and found easily.
- Stop by your local University Extension Center for a booklet titled "Our Valuable Papers." This circular will help inventory and locate important information such as bank accounts, investments, credit cards, insurance policies, assets and liabilities, and the contents of your safety deposit box.
- If you took on credit card debt to pay for year-end gifts and services, the new year will bring an icy surprise. Low introductory rates handed out with new credit cards will expire and jump by about 5 percentage points.
- To avoid paying higher interest rates on your credit card balances call the 1-800 number on the back of your card and ask for a low rate. If the bank refuses to lower your rate, and you are a good customer, call back in a few weeks once you've looked at offers made by the competition. If your bank card operator still denies you a lower rate, even after you mention the competition, politely point out that you plan to cancel the card. If you - like most people - have several credit cards, you may be able to get a favorable rate on one of your other cards.
- If you decide to cancel your old card, ensure you'll qualify for cards you want in the future by applying for only one new card at a time. Future lenders and credit card companies may deny you credit if they see you applying for many cards at a time.
Source: "New Year New Credit Card Strategies: How to keep well ahead of your unfriendly banker," by Gerri Detweiler, Bottom Line Personal, Dec. 15, 1995, p. 5.
Sandra McKinnon, Consumer & Family Economics Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Cynthia E. Crawford, Ph.D., Consumer & Family Economics Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Last update: Saturday, July 26, 2008