Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How Sharp is your Financial Awareness?

Some folks just don't seem to mind just floating through life. They ride the raft of obscurity until the river peters out, and the end is in sight, but do they ever pick up the oars and start rowing toward a destination? Sometimes! Controlling your own financial destiny is an important part of life, but all too often, we become complacent and simply accept what comes our way, thinking that the rough patches that toss us around from time to time, threatening to capsize the boat, are just a part of life that has to be dealt with as they come up. What if I told you, though, that it doesn't always have to be that way? There are ways you can protect your boat to help get through those rough patches much easier! Additionally, you might just find that you don't have to be a millionaire to make it happen, you just have to be aware of your finances!

Your credit score is the first thing that you should be aware of when it comes to your personal financial wellness. If you don't already know, there are three different credit reporting agencies that provide this information to creditors, employers, and a whole host of others. Although the number doesn't really provide a complete picture of your finances, it is pretty darn close. It can also be rife with misinformation that requires repair. Now, you might be thinking, "I can't afford to get a credit report, and don't have time to fool with it anyway!" Well, banish such foolish thoughts! You are entitled to one free credit report every year, and that means one from each of the reporting agencies, Experion, Equifax, and Transunion. (Be careful, though, they like to try to sell you credit monitoring services to make some money off you.) they're a good idea to get once per year, if only to make sure that you have out the credit that you should have. After all, how else will you know quickly if someone has been using your credit without your knowledge?

Next up is budgeting. I know I tend to stress budgeting in this blog, perhaps to the point of beating the proverbial dead horse, but there is no better way to keep track of and control of, your finances. With a budget securely in place, you know exactly what's going out and coming in every week. Of course, even in today's tech-laden society, there really isn't any particularly easy way to do this.  While there are a host of companies offering software to help you keep track of your finances, they don't always work very well. often, you'll find that The security put in place to protect you from fraud also blocks access from this software to your finances. This means that very often, the best way to keep track of your budget is the old fashioned way.

Finally, what might be the most important aspect of your personal financial health is how you actually feel about your finances. Are you stressed out much of the time? Do you find yourself scraping together money every month to do your grocery shopping? Do you stay home more often than you go out just to save money on gas so that you can get to work through the week? These are good indicators that you need to rethink how your finances are arranged, and commit to making some serious changes before things get totally out of hand. Hopefully, you won't be to the point where you need to think about bankruptcy or selling off possessions to get by, but even if it really has gone that far, then right now is the best time to grab your finances by the horns and take care of business so you don't have to go through these unpleasant things again! This is the best way, bar none, to stay aware of your finances, and keep them under control!

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