Some people approach buying a car like they approach marriage, “till death do us part.” Others prefer to keep their options open, trading in every few years for the latest body style, the hottest technology, or the highest horsepower. Whichever describes you best, we all face a similar decision when it comes to acquiring a car: finance, lease, or pay cash.
Every year, nearly 130 million households file their federal tax returns.¹ For many, the process involves digging through shoe boxes or manila folders full of receipts; gathering mortgage, retirement, and investment account statements; and relying on computer software to take advantage of every tax break the code permits.
I’ve given talks on Identity Theft for many years. In those presentations I have always brought up the topic of monitoring your credit reports as an early detector of potential fraud. There are many more reasons to do this as prevention is far cheaper than treatment.
Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, giving yourself your best, “You can make it!” pep talk, you see smoke seeping out from under your hood.
Almost half of American households carry a balance on their credit cards, and the average debt totals $15,325.1 The wise use of credit is a critical skill in today’s world. Used unwisely, credit can rapidly turn from a useful tool to a crippling burden. There are a number of warning signs that you may be approaching credit problems: