Financial resolve: Do's and don'ts to get on the right track
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2013
1/27/13 at 3:48 AM
Related Story: Financial resolve: Experts offer advice, share their own goals
Original Print Headline: Dos and don'ts to get on right track
It's a new year and a new chance to get serious about building a rock-solid financial plan. Here are some suggestions to help get you on the right track, as shared by local financial and consumer experts.
DO keep track of expenditures, no matter how small or large. A written plan keeps you accountable on what, when and why you're spending.
DO pay off credit cards with the highest interest rate first. If you owe $5,000 on one credit card with a higher interest rate and $1,000 on another with a lower rate, pay off the $5,000 first. The card with the highest interest rate has the highest cost, and not paying it off limits your net worth and ability to save.
DO know the annual percentage rate of your credit card. How much are you being charged for every dollar that you charge? Try to pay off the balance every month, or have a plan to pay it off within three to four months to avoid interest and fees.
DON'T be late in paying a credit card bill. Thirty-five percent of your credit score is based on whether you pay bills on time.
DO check bank statements and balance your checkbook. Make sure that what you think you have in your bank account and what the bank says you have match.
DO check your credit report. You can order a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the nationwide credit bureaus - Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (888-397-3742) or TransUnion (800-888-4213). To make the process simpler, a centralized website also is available at tulsaworld.com/annualcredit, or by calling 877-322-8228.
DO take lunch to work and pay only with cash if you eat out.
DON'T cash out your 401(k) or IRA if the balance seems too small. Always roll your 401(k) into an IRA when you leave a job. Cashing out a 401(k) subjects you to penalty fees and taxes. It also reduces your retirement nest egg.