Summer is unofficially over, when we did a series of Money Saving Tips articles, but now it is time to focus on personal finance and help get everyone started on the right track to financial well being for the long run. This is the first part of a series of personal finance articles Credit Unions Online will be publishing every week throughout the fall. Whether you have too much debt, difficulty spending less than you make, not enough (or nothing) saved for retirement, have never attempted creating a budget, and no savings safety net, then this personal finance series is for you!
The first step before going down the road of achieving personal finance health is to get your free credit report from the official website at www.annualcreditreport.com. This website is the official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report. AnnualCreditReport.com provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies according to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). The first time you get your credit reports, select all three and check for inaccuracies.
Many people pay higher rates of interest on loans and credit cards simply due to errors on their credit report. If you see any inaccuracies, follow either the online instructions to notify the credit bureau that has an inaccurate entry on your credit report or call them directly for detailed information. Issues are typically cleared up within 30 days. When you check your credit report in following years, stagger your free credit reports, one every four months from one of the credit reporting bureaus. That will give you an idea if your credit is being affected over the entire year rather than just once a year. Be very cautious of advertisements that promote free credit scores or anything similar. Quite often you are unknowingly signing up for a service that will cost you a siginfiicant amount of money. Even if you see ads next to this article for "free credit reports" or "free credit scores" ignore them - they are not for the official credit report website. The only real free credit report website resulting from the FACT Act is www.annualcreditreport.com.
Go get your credit reports and meet us back here once a week during the fall to help get your finances in order in the here and now as well as help secure your financial future.By Gregory Hurley