From doling out allowances to teaching their kids how to responsibly spend their money, mothers play an integral role in shaping their children’s money habits. These
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small pieces of parental advice may have seemed trite to kids as they were growing up—but these lessons should last through adulthood.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we pulled together five tips our mothers shared with us when we were younger that are still applicable today. Even if mom didn’t mean for these little tidbits to be directly related to credit and loans, it turns out she was right, just the same.
Time is Money
No one should waste time that could be used to earn precious dollars. But have you thought of this little idiom in terms of your credit? The length of your credit payment history accounts for as much as 15% of your credit score.
If you have patience and diligence over time when it comes to building your credit and making on-time bill and loan payments, you could end up with much more money in your pockets.
An excellent credit score will help you attain the lowest interest rates when it comes to your mortgage, personal loans and credit cards.
Neither a Borrower or a Lender Be
When it comes to mixing friends or family and money, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong. Like many people who are looking to build their credit, you may be tempted to ask a family member or close friend to add you as a cosigner on their loan or credit card. The benefit here is that the account and payment history will appear on your credit report as well and help you to build credit. Not so fast. The major drawback with this strategy is that if the friend or family member defaults on the loan or fails to make payments on time, it could harm your credit score.
The opposite situation is just as risky. If you agree to cosign a loan for a friend or family member, that loan will be reported to your report as well. If the friend or family member fails to make on-time payments or the account goes delinquent, your credit score could take a substantial hit. If they’re unable to repay altogether, you would be responsible. However, if you do decide to lend a family member or friend money directly, have a legally binding loan agreement drawn up, to ensure you have recourse if there are problems down the road.
Live Well Within Your Means
Balance your quality of life and fiscal responsibility. For most of us, carrying some amount of debt is just a part of life. Our lifelong goals—like home ownership, college, or launching our own business—often require taking on loans. And that’s OK, financing those goals is generally considered “good” debt.
Debt—particularly secured debt—isn’t inherently bad, as long as you are smart when it comes to how much. Perhaps the best rule of thumb is that you should never borrow more than you can easily repay.
Live your life and use smart financing options as a way to achieve your goals and dreams. Just keep your debt-to-income ratio in check, pay your bills on time, and look for smart refinancing solutions to help you pay less on those loans over time. Plus, it’s probably smart to start saving that emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses to cover any unexpected costs.
Marriage is About Love. Divorce is About Money
No one wants to think about the possibility of divorce. But mom always gave us smart advice—even if we didn’t want to think about it. Divorce is painful, but given that a lot of us go through it, it’s important to know what it may mean for your credit. After all, joint accounts are common in marriages, and after a divorce, all a creditor sees is that you agreed to repay the debt.
The dissolution of your marriage does not negate that agreement. Having to pay for the debt your spouse acquired may be awful, but it’s better than letting those accounts go into delinquency or collections. It can take years to repair a damaged credit score. If you do go through a divorce, try to jointly pay off the debt before the divorce is finalized. Close all joint accounts and move the balances to new separate accounts. If all else fails and you end up strapped with the debt, your best bet is to pay it off one month at a time.
Take Care of Pennies and Dollars Will Follow
When it comes to money, mom was right with this one. The lowest common dominator and smallest of actions can make a big impact when it comes to your finances.
For example, many people will take out a loan on their car or home, pay the bill each month, and forget about it. But if you got that loan when your credit score or income were lower than they currently are, you could be letting lots of dollars slip through your fingers.
Check your outstanding loans and see if there are refinancing options that may lower your interest rates and help you pay less in the long run. If you have a lot of outstanding high-interest debt, like credit cards, you may want to consider a debt consolidation loan to help you pay it off faster.
Well, there’s only one thing left to say – thanks Mom!
Credit Sesame is the consumer’s credit and lending expert, providing smarter financing for your life. We provide a complete picture of your credit and loans in one place, including your credit score, credit monitoring, customized analysis, and unbiased loan and savings recommendations – all for free. Our proprietary savings recommendation engine, with bank-level analytics, monitors the market, runs thousands of scenarios and analyzes each consumer’s debt, to identify the best loans and savings opportunities.