Dear Kim: How Long Should You Keep
Important Documents On File?

Dear Kim, I made the mistake of going into our family file cabinet and it is a disaster. I have papers from 1989 in there. We have always been so afraid to throw anything way. How long do you hold onto important documents like tax returns and credit card bills? Thanks, Katie, VT Dear Katie, [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip Of The Day: Cut Your Debt In Half By The End Of The Year

Find an extra $20 per week for the remainder of the year, and put it toward debt reduction. Not worth the trouble? Consider this: If you currently owe $1,000 on a credit card, have an Annual Percentage Rate of 18 percent, and are making a minimum monthly payment of 2 percent of balance, even if [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Improve Your Tarnished Credit

If recent events have made your credit report less than stellar, work on improving it. Review the damage by obtaining a free copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for what’s doing you the most harm, things such as accounts that have gone into collections, or old credit card bills that you’ve forgotten about. [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Take Advantage of Free Money!

Contribute the maximum amount to your retirement plan at work, or at the very least, meet the matched amount or you’re throwing away free money! Also inquire about the availability of Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. All of the above can lower your taxable income.



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Know Where Your Money Goes

Have everyone in your household who spends money track their spending for 30 days. At the end of the month, come together to review the findings and determine where the leaks are. Jointly decide how to plug them. Make adjustments so that your budget reflects exactly how you want your hard-earned money to be spent. [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Don’t Overdraft Your Checking Account

Even if you have overdraft protection, this is a habit that speaks of a deeper problem that should be addressed. Write down each deposit and withdrawal in your check register, including all debit and ATM transactions. Regularly balance your checkbook, and reconcile your bank statement within one week of it arriving. If you do these [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Get Financially Organized

Sometimes people become so overwhelmed that they bury their head in the financial sand. Not only do they neglect paying their bills on time, they don’t even open their monthly credit card statements. Such habits result in late fees, a tarnished credit report, and a lower credit score. Become financially organized by creating a cash-flow [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Live Within Your Means

Simply put, don’t spend more than you make. To accomplish this, put the credit cards away. Many well-meaning people resort to living off of credit when facing a financial crisis, digging an even deeper financial hole. Instead, try living on a cash basis. People who do this typically spend 20 percent less, and they do [...]



 Financial Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day: Ask an Expert

If you don’t know where to start or you’re not sure what to keep or toss, consider contacting an NFCC Member Agency. From financial education to debt management services, NFCC’s nonprofit agencies have certified credit counselors who offer low-cost and free financial educational information, money and credit management advice, and debt reduction services. To locate [...]



 3 Proven Ways to Shelter Your Finances in a Natural Disaster

When a natural disaster strikes, you think first about the lives of those closest to you. But a close second on your list should be securing your quality of life – and that means your finances. The tornadoes and storms that rocked the Southeast and Midwest could rack up more than $5.5 billion – with [...]