Cece Mitchell, manager of Zions Bank’s Women’s Financial Group shares five things every woman should know.
When you have “fiscal fitness,” you have:
– Ability to survive economic challenges
– Ability to spend your money when and how you choose
– Ability to work together as a team or independently if circumstances require
– Ability to enjoy your retirement years and leave a little behind for your children and grandchildren
As with starting any fitness plan, the first and possibly the most difficult hurdle is inertia. Inertia is the tendency to be inactive or in a state of rest. Let’s face it, it’s easy. But to borrow from Nike you’ve got to “Just do it.”
1. MAKE SURE YOUR CREDIT REPORT IS HEALTHY.
• Although it can be tough, you’ve got to get your credit report in shape. That’s because credit has never mattered so much as it does today.
• Yes, banks are lending, but credit standards are high.
• So strive to pay down debts, always meeting bill deadlines on time.
• Work to improve your credit score. The higher the number, the better you look to lenders. And you can possibly get lower interest rates. Usually the credit score ranges from 300-750, but the average credit score lies within 600-750 which is regarded as good credit score. If your score is below this average range, you should try to increase their credit score.
A score of 720 or higher will likely get you the most favorable interest rates on a mortgage.
• Remember the importance of credit will likely be strong for several years to come.
• You can always check by taking advantage of the free annual credit reports. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to learn about how you are entitled to receive one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Get a credit report every four months to check your score for irregularities that may indicate fraud or identity theft.
2. BE SMART WHEN EXERCISING YOUR BORROWING MUSCLES.
• As a conservatively managed company for more than 135 years, Zions Bank likewise encourages customers use credit wisely and to avoid “getting in over your head.”
• You can do that by taking advantage of relatively low mortgage rates through a variety of products.
• For example, those in the position to pay off all mortgage debt sooner than planned can take advantage of shorter-term mortgage loans at Zions Bank.
3. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.
• The best way to stay healthy financially is by keeping three to six months in salary set aside for emergencies.
• If that seems tough, just start with a $1,000 emergency fund. Make a reasonable budget, stick with it and save regularly.
• Consider investing in an IRA, company 401(k) plans, and other retirement vehicles.
• Avoid over-borrowing because it can decrease the amount of money you can put toward saving.
• Remember to deposit your money in a well-capitalized financial institution like Zions Bank, known for its safety and soundness for more than 135 years.
4. DON’T CHARGE MORE THAN YOU HAVE
• Your wallet will be healthier if you keep credit card debt under control.
• Total consumer debt grew nearly five times in size from 1980 ($355 billion) to 2001 ($1.7 trillion). Consumer debt in 2007 was $2.5 trillion. Never charge when you know you don’t have the money to pay later.
• Always watch your credit card spending carefully and keep within your budget.
• Consider using your debit card, so that you’re less likely to charge with a credit card.
5. MAKE HEALTHY FINANCES PART OF YOUR DAILY REGIMEN.
• Stick to your “fiscal fitness” goals.
• Given the current uncertain economic climate, now has never been a better time to watch your expenses. So keep all of your receipts and check them against your budget to make sure you’re not overspending.
• Consider operating on a cash basis during the week, or using envelopes with cash for groceries.
• Save money by taking lunch to work. Involve the entire family by letting them know if you’re cutting back.
The Zions Bank Women’s Financial Group provides women of all ages and financial situations with the information they need to achieve their financial goals. Built upon Zions Bank’s 135-year foundation of strength and stability, the Women’s Financial Group can help you meet your financial goals. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or the owner of your own business, you can depend on our friendly team of banking experts to guide you through the growing sea of financial choices.
For more information, visit any one of our branches or call the Women’s Financial Group at (801) 844-7996 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. More information is available at: https://www.zionsbank.com/biz/womens_finance.jsp.