The kids are back in school, leaves have started to change color and the air is getting crispier. These are all signs that fall is here – and it’s hard to believe.
Fall can be one of the most exciting seasons of the year, but it can also be a busy and stressful time as the holidays begin to creep up unexpectedly. With so many things happening all at once, it’s easy to forget the day-to-day responsibilities and slowly begin to drift away from your routine.
During busy times, it’s important that you maintain a plan – especially when it comes to your finances. Wells Fargo recently conducted the third installment of its How America Buys and Borrows survey. The survey revealed that Americans are optimistic about their finances and the future, with Millennials feeling the most optimistic.
Twenty-eight percent of Millennials rate their current financial situation favorably, compared to 24 percent of the general population.
The survey also revealed that 60 percent of Americans say if they want something enough, they will borrow to get it, yet 45 percent of respondents grade their overall understanding of credit and loan products as “C, D or F.”
While some results show great signs of positive financial behaviors – especially when it comes to our youth – there still seems to be a desire to learn more about credit and money management. Understanding your financial and credit situations are key steps to achieving your financial goals. To continue on a positive path this fall and during the upcoming holiday season, Wells Fargo offers these 10 tips that can help you stay on top of your credit:
• Monitor your credit regularly. Make sure you stay on top of your credit history. Be sure to check all three credit bureaus annually.
• Know your credit limits. Being close to or maxing out your credit limits may negatively impact your credit score.
• Good score equals good rates. A better credit score may get you better credit interest rates.
• Don’t be late. The first missed payment has the largest impact on a credit score, so don’t miss payments. If you are late, don’t be 30 days late, and if you have difficulty, call your lender.
• Know your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders look at the amount of debt you have compared to your monthly income – it’s good to keep that under 35 percent.
• Start with a college or secured credit card. If you need to establish credit, a secured credit card or a college credit card may be a good way to start.
• Pay down highest interest rates first. When trying to pay down your existing debt, pay down your highest interest debt first.
• Live within your means. By setting a budget and living within your means, you can avoid using credit to overextend yourself.
• Pay more than the minimum. Paying more than what’s due on your credit card helps you pay down debt faster and can improve your credit score.
• Set up alerts. Create email and text alerts, as well as autopay, to help ensure that you pay your bills on time and build positive credit history.
Strong credit is the key to a healthy financial future. It also helps with routine matters like having utilities connected to your home, getting a cell phone or even applying for a job.
This fall, Wells Fargo is supporting Get Smart About Credit through the entire month of October to build awareness on the importance of credit.
Most importantly, Wells Fargo is encouraging consumers to have a conversation about credit not only during this buy time, but throughout the year.
For more information about credit, visit the Smarter Credit Center at www.wellsfargo.com/smarter_credit or the Hands on Banking site at www.handsonbanking.org.
Yvonne Santillan, a district manager at Wells Fargo in El Paso, can be contacted at email@example.com.
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