Monday, February 23, 2009

Managing requires understanding.

With the news this morning that the government may have to buy up to 40% of another large bank just to avoid a run on it, it looks like the country could be stuck in neutral, if not reverse, for a while. That makes it all the more imperative to be more careful with your own personal finances, and manage them a lot better.

Managing your finances begins with understanding them. Take your credit card, or credit cards -- do you really understand how they work? Sure, you know that you can charge things and you can pay for them over time and that you pay interest, but do you understand how your interest is calculated, and what interest is charged on?

That kind of information is important, because it lets you know just how much that shirt or cup of coffee that you charged is actually costing you: the cost of the shirt is the ticket price, plus all the interest you pay. But most people don't know how much interest they pay or how to figure out how it's calculated.

Care One Credit Counseling can help in a variety of ways. Their website is stocked with helpful articles about debt and investments and personal finances and mortgages and credit cards and everything else that you deal with on a daily basis but maybe don't understand so well. They've for, for example, an article on how to calculate the actual interest rate on your credit cards, and what all those terms like two cycle average daily balance mean. Don't know what a two cycle average daily balance is? You could be losing a lot of money -- even if you've paid off your credit card this month entirely.

How? Read the article at Care One. I did, and I'm not going to try to summarize it. They're the experts, and you should go to them. In fact, they've even got experts there, waiting to answer your questions about credit card help, or about debt management, or mortgage-related questions, and more.

Then they can help you choose the right financial strategy for your situation-- giving you the information you need to decide what course to pursue and how to pursue it.

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