Improve Your Finances By Understanding Three Simple Tips.
Your finances are more than just what’s in your checking and savings accounts. Credit score and monthly payments on debt are key indicators of your financial status and these factors affect not only your finances, but may also impact your quality of life overall.
Debt is a huge attribute to your credit score, and your credit score is used to calculate interest rates on loans, negotiate contracts, and determine monthly payments. By carefully identifying your debt, credit score, and monthly payments, you can see not only your entire financial profile, but identify ways to raise your credit score, lower monthly payments, and eliminate debt.
Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that is calculated by credit bureaus based on variables such as payment history, utilization of credit, length and history of credit and types/mix of credit such as credit card, auto loans, and home loans. According to NerdWallet.com, credit scores between 300 to 629 are considered bad, 630 to 689 are fair, 690 to 719 are good and anything over 720 is great.1
Your credit score is used to determine loan amounts and payment plans a lender will offer, home ownership, apartment rental agreements, and even employment opportunities. Throughout your life, your credit score will fluctuate, and taking control of your score can improve your financial health now and in the near future.
Raising Credit Scores
It’s important to know your credit score and understand how to raise it. A piece of that calculation is debt. You need open and active credit accounts along with its history in order to have a credit score. Paying off these accounts and debt is important; how and when you pay off your debt is just as important.
Late payments can sink your score. To help stay on top of monthly bills, use an automatic payment service such as Inspire’s Online Bill Pay. Not only will this ensure bills are paid on time, your monthly expenses can be quickly and clearly identified, allowing you to create accurate monthly budgets. Inspire FCU offers a free online budgeting tool to help you organize your finances.
Your consumer behavior also affects your credit score. Using too many credit cards and carrying hefty balances will lower your credit score. Consolidating your debt and keeping balances as low as possible will increase your credit score. You may consider having a financial counselor examine your debt and identify added ways to increase your credit score.
Lower Monthly Payments
Making minimum payments each month is a good way to pay your bills on time. But by doing so, you may never get out of debt. There are multiple ways you can reduce or eliminate personal debt. One strategy to consider is consolidating your debt and credit cards into one loan at a lower interest rate. You could save on interest and reduce your monthly obligation. You can also apply for a consolidation loan and an Inspire loan officer will assist you in examining the debt on your credit report in an effort to reduce monthly payment obligations and/or save you money in interest.
Did you know? If you are financing your vehicle (from another bank), Inspire FCU will reduce your interest rate by 2% APR.* Refinance your auto loan with Inspire FCU today and lower your interest rate saving money each month and putting cash back into your pocket (or your savings account)!
Be careful as total debt can quickly add up when using multiple credit card accounts and lines of credit. And when carrying balances month-to-month, high interest rate charges on these accounts will impede your financial growth. A great plan to wrangle your debt is to consolidate it with the intent to eliminate it.
Consolidating debt simply means using one loan or line of credit to pay off several debts. Typically, the new loan has a lower interest rate than your existing loan accounts, such as credit cards, personal loans and even home equity loans. The interest you save can be kept in your pocket, put in a savings account, or used to pay off your debt balances faster.
Your loan accounts, including mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans and auto loans, can also be refinanced. An Inspire FCU associate can examine your loans and identify ways the loan can be restructured to help you not only save each month, but eliminate the debt as quickly as possible. Because your financial situation is unique, the strategy to eliminate debt should be tailored to you. And, an Inspire FCU financial expert will find and explain those strategies.
A strategy often overlooked to stay out of debt is to avoid it altogether with a savings account. Always remember to pay yourself first. Even a small percentage of your income deposited into savings on a regular basis will add up. This money can then be used to cover expenses before you use a credit card or apply for a loan. The sooner you open a savings account, the better.
How to Get Started
Start by first examining your current situation. Take a look at your income coming in versus payments going out each month – use a budget tool to get started. There may be an opportunity and need for change. Inspire FCU can help you along the way.
Talk with Inspire FCU today or stop in a branch and speak with an expert. We can help you identify opportunities to raise your credit score, lower your monthly payment and eliminate debt.
Consolidate Your Debt and Start Raising Your Credit Score
*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. Loan decision based on applicant credit worthiness. Must be an Inspire FCU member in good standing and meet lending requirements. Limited time offer. Inspire FCU reserves the right to terminate promotion at any time without notice. Must be a 2012 model or newer. Min loan amount $5,000. Floor rate 2.99% APR. Existing Inspire FCU loans not eligible.