How will I pay for my kids' college and retirement?
Paying for college and saving for retirement are two of the biggest financial anxieties on most American's minds. Despite this fact, consumer spending is at an all-time high and personal savings at an all-time low. But if your financial house is not in order at a very basic level, you shouldn't even begin to consider saving for long-term goals. If you are one of the millions of Americans carrying average credit card debt of more than $7,000, your first step to realizing your long-term goals is to get out of debt.
Find a certified credit counseling agency near you (check out the National Consumer Finance Foundation's Web site), and get some help setting up a family budget and debt repayment plan. Once you have your debts paid off, tweak your budget so you can build an emergency fund. Your emergency fund should be enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. Without an emergency fund, the next time disaster strikes (dead car, lost job), you'll be right back to hitting the credit cards. Once you have your emergency fund, then and only then should you consider planning for longer-term goals.
To help you get your finances in order, meet short-term, interim, and long-term financial goals, check out Suze Orman's book "The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical & Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying." It's a treasure trove of excellent advice. You can also visit SuzeOrman.com and find reams of information on all stages of financial planning.
Personal Loans Frequently Asked Questions
What is a payday loan?
How are payday loans different from other loans?
What are the benefits of a payday loan?
What are the drawbacks of a payday loan?
What do people use payday loans for?
Who qualifies for a payday loan?
Can you get a payday loan if you have bad credit?
Is a payday loan right for me?
Where can I learn more about payday loans?
What is fringe banking?
Should I consider applying for a personal loan online?
What rights do I have when applying for credit?
What is a secured loan?
Can I get a personal loan if I have bad credit?
What is an unsecured loan?
How does my credit score affect my ability to get credit?
What can I do to improve my credit score?
What is predatory lending?
How do I correct inaccuracies on my credit report?
I thought debt was bad. Why should I build credit?
How can I find a good credit counselor?
What is a debt management plan?
How can I avoid debt management scams?
How can I make sure my debt management plan works?
What do I do if my bills aren't getting paid?
Should I use the equity in my home to consolidate debt?
What alternatives are there to home equity debt consolidation loans?
Should I consolidate my credit card debt onto one card?
Where can learn how to manage my money better?
What is a debt repayment push plan?
What is a budget?
How do I set up a budget?
How often should I pay my bills?
What's the best way to pay off my bills?
How can I pay off bills more quickly?
What is a "smallest first" debt payment plan?
What is a push payment debt payment plan?
Should I transfer my high interest debt to a lower interest credit card?
Should I consolidate my high interest debt by taking out a home equity line of credit?
What's the best way to pay off high interest credit cards?
What is a short-term personal loan?
Do traditional banks offer short-term personal loans?
What are the benefits of a short-term personal loan?
What are the drawbacks of a short-term personal loan?
What are the alternatives to a short-term loan?
What should I consider before I take a personal loan?
Should I take out a larger amount than I need at the moment?
How do I know if I'm getting a fair interest rate on my loan?
Are there minimum amounts I can borrow on a short-term basis?
What is a short-term bridge loan?
What is a guaranteed loan?
What is a co-signer?
Should I take a loan that requires I get a co-signer?
Should I co-sign a loan for my friend?
Are there steps I can take to protect myself as a co-signer?
Can I get my name taken off a loan after the fact?
Should I put my car up as collateral?
Should I get a guaranteed online loan?
Where can I find information on building, maintaining, or repairing my credit?
Should I take a loan or use my credit card?
Why was Check 21 necessary?
What are the terms of Check 21?
What are my rights under Check 21?
What are my responsibilities under Check 21?
What are my bank's responsibilities under Check 21?
How did check processing used to work?
How does check processing work under Check 21?
Do I need to do anything different to avoid bouncing check?
Can I get bank fees back that were charged in error?
Where can I find more information on Check 21?
What is a late fee?
Why did my interest rate go up?
Why did my interest rate go up on my other credit card?
Why did I get a late fee when I paid on time?
How can I avoid late fees when paying by mail?
How can I avoid late payment fees when paying electronically or by phone?
Can a credit counselor get my credit card company to stop charging me late fees?
Can I get a different due date to avoid late fees?
What should I do if I know I can't make my payment on time?
How can I manage my money better to avoid late fees?
Why do I overspend?
What are spending triggers?
How can I control my spending better?
How can I develop better spending habits?
How can I find money to save for goals?
How will I pay for my kids' college and retirement?
Where does all my money go?
How can I make better spending decisions?
Am I a compulsive spender?
Where can I get help for my compulsive spending?
What is a debt relief plan?
Will setting up a debt management plan affect my credit?
What are my debt relief options?
Should I consider bankruptcy?
What happens if I declare bankruptcy?
Can I get credit in the future if I declare bankruptcy?
Will all my debts be wiped clean if I file bankruptcy?
Should I transfer my credit card balance?
How do I get my creditors to leave me alone?
Can I negotiate my own debt relief plan with creditors?