Month: December 2015

How To Become Financially Literate

How to become financially literate
Become financially literate

By now you should have taken my financial literacy quiz. If you didn’t you still have time. Your answers are strictly confidential. It is never too early or too late to become financially literate. NOW is the time to take control of your finances and put yourself on the road to financial security and freedom. Being financially literate allows you to earn more, spend less and obtain the things you really want.

Financial literacy is just another way to say you are financially fit. When you are financially fit, you are able to make informed choices about your finances, and you understand how those choices will impact your wallet and your life. Financially literate people plan for their future and can manage financial surprises, because they have trained for these situations by saving and planning. To enjoy the benefits of financial literacy, you have to train. You must obtain, information, knowledge and skills and apply them in order to make good choices in how you treat your money.

Do you ever think about how you treat your money? Do you save it, or spend it all the dame day you get it? Do you pay all of your bills first and hope that you have enough left over for your basic needs? No matter what you answered to these questions or what your relationship is with money, or what your level of financial literacy is, you can start right now to improve your financial situation and become more financially literate. Here are 7 things you can do to become more financially literate.

  1. Become familiar with your household finances. Know exactly how much money you have coming in and exactly how much you have going out. Review your online bank statements daily or weekly. Make sure to have a paper copy of that bank statement as well. Find out how much of your money goes in the bank and for what, other than your normal monthly bills, it comes out. Go through your monthly bills so you know exactly whom you pay each month for what and how much.
  2. Set a financial goal.  A while back, I wrote a post on setting financial goals. If you missed it, you can review it here. Setting a financial goal or goals, makes being financially responsible much easier. Decide on what your goal or goals may be and make sure that it is something that you want that you have to save for.
  3. Develop a budget and stick to it. I cannot stress this enough. Once you know how much is coming in and going out and you have a financial goal, you will need to develop a budget that you can stick with. If you need help doing that then you can register for my FREE 30 day Budget Bootcamp.
  4. Watch television programs offering financial advice. Some television channels that offer sage financial advice and planning are: CNBC TV, BLOOMBERG TV, Nightly Business Report, CNN, Fox Business News
  5. Read newspapers and magazines. Read newspapers and magazines that are geared toward money matters. Some great publications are: The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Kiplinger Letter, Barons, Fortune, Forbes and Money
  6. Use government resources. Uncle Sam, is making a marked effort to see that U.S. citizens have ample opportunities to learn about personal finance. Check out these websites for more information on financial literacy. http://promotions.usa.gov/newyear.html, here you can order up to 5 packets to start managing your finances like a pro. Financial literacy and education commission is affiliated with the U.S. Treasury Department, and its mission is to improve financial literacy by coordinating efforts between the public and the private sector. MyMoney.gov is a website dedicated to teaching the basics about financial education. You can find assistance with things, such as, balancing a check book, investing in a 401(k), or purchasing a home.
  7. Set up a wealth building system. Once you have set your financial goals, transfer money to accounts to automatically begin saving for those goals.

Becoming financially literate is not hard, it is one of the best things you can do to improve your quality of life.

 

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Financial Literacy Quiz

Financial Literacy Quizz
Take The Financial Literacy Quiz!

Happy Friday! Earlier in the week, I told you all I would give you a financial literacy quiz. No one can see your results except you. Well, here it is. Have fun, good luck and have a great weekend!

 

 


Please take the quiz below:

How much of your monthly income should you spend on monthly housing expenses?
A) 50%
B) 43%
C) 31%

If you want to improve your credit score, which step is the best to take?
A) Close old credit card accounts you no longer use.
B) Pay down your debt to at least 25 percent or less of each credit card limit.
C) Consolidate your debt on one balance-transfer credit card.

How big should your emergency savings be?
A) $1,000
B) Two months of rent or mortgage payments
C) Six months of living expenses

Who needs life insurance the most?
A) A single mother with two young children
B) A two-income married couple without children
C) An elderly widow

Which of the following individuals will pay the most in interest on their credit card over time?
A) Jane, who makes the minimum payment on her credit card bill every month.
B) Joe, who pays the balance on his credit card in full every month.
C) Joyce, who sometimes pays the minimum, sometimes pays less than the minimum, and missed one payment on her credit card bill.

Which of these accounts allows you to make unlimited withdrawals without a fee?
A) Certificate of deposit.
B) Checking account.
C) Money market account.

Which of these retirement savings plans will result in the largest sum by the time the individual is 65?
A) Tom saves $1,000 per year from age 25 to 35 in an account earning 8 percent interest and then stops saving.
B) Tracy saves $1,000 per year from age 35 to 65 in an account earning 8 percent interest.
C) Both the same

Matt and Eric are young men. Each has a good credit history. They work at the same company and make approximately the same salary. Matt has borrowed $6,000 to take a foreign vacation. Eric has borrowed $6,000 to buy a car. Who is likely to pay the lowest finance charge?
A) Matt will pay less because people who travel overseas are better risks.
B) They will both pay the same because they have almost identical financial backgrounds.
C) Eric will pay less because the car is collateral for the loan.

Doug must borrow $12,000 to complete his college education. Which of the following would NOT be likely to reduce the finance charge rate?
A) If his parents took out an additional mortgage on their house for the loan.
B) If the loan was insured by the Federal Government.
C) If he went to a state college rather than a private college.

If you had a savings account at a bank, which of the following would be correct concerning the interest that you would earn on this account?
A) Sales tax may be charged on the interest that you earn.
B) You cannot earn interest until you pass your 18th birthday.
C) Income tax may be charged on the interest if your income is high enough.
 
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Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy
Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how one manages to earn or make money, how they manage it, and how they invest it to make it grow. When it comes to financial literacy, you never really stop learning, it is a lifelong process requiring both academic and practical components. Studies have shown how poorly educated Americans are when it comes to managing our money.

The earlier we start teaching our children about finances, chances are they will become financially literate adults. For a complete age by age breakdown, of what and how you can teach your children about finances, please feel free to read the articles on this site. Financial literacy begins at home and as early as possible. If we ourselves are not financially literate, then how will we teach our children? Below, is an overview of certain standards adults need to know to with regard to personal finance.

I. Money Management – Recognize how cash flow management and net worth analysis can be used as tools to achieve financial goals.
Identify the components of a budget
Create personalized budget documents
Revise their budgets to reflect current cash flow

Personal Net Worth
Identify the components of a personal net worth statement
Create personalized net worth statements
Understand that their net worth will fluctuate as the values of their assets and liabilities change

Financial Goal Setting
Differentiate between short and long term financial goals
Prioritize their financial goals
Construct a realistic financial goal action plan
Revise their financial goals as life circumstances change

II. Credit – Know how and where to obtain credit, and the implications of using and misusing credit.
Differentiate among the types of credit
Understand which types of credit are better suited for particular purposes than other types
Identify types of financial institutions where credit can be obtained
Understand how the credit application process works

Utilization of Credit
Comprehend the legal implications of using credit
Understand what a credit report is, how to dispute errors in credit reports, and what a consumer’s rights are regarding credit reports
Understand what credit scores mean and the significance of their use in modern life
Recognize what precautions can be taken to prevent identity theft and fraud, and what to do if victimized

III. Debt Management – Recognize how using debt can be a tool in asset building.
Know what tools are available to them to measure their debt load
Determine what their appropriate debt load is
Understand the difference between good debt and bad debt

Debt Resolution   
Recognize the warning signs of excessive consumer debt
Understand options available to assist with excessive debt loads
Evaluate which professionals can assist in dealing with excessive debt issues

IV. Risk Management – Use appropriate risk management strategies to protect assets and quality of life.
Differentiate among the types of insurance products
Understand their insurance needs
Comprehend the implications of being insured or uninsured

Risk Management
Evaluate the effectiveness of risk management tools in protecting against financial loss
Assess their risk tolerance level
Use risk tolerance levels in developing risk management strategies

While this is not an all inclusive list, it is at a minimum, what all adults should know concerning their finances. Stay tuned, later this week I will give you a financial literacy quiz! Be sure to follow me on social

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Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

Contouring your pockets, lifting your bottom line and highlighting your future

 

 

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Financial Infidelity: What It Is And Are You Guilty

 

Financial infidelity: what it is and are you guilty
Are you GUILTY?

I’m sure that we all know what infidelity is, but did you know there is such a thing as financial infidelity? I was shocked to find out that what my husband and I were doing to one another actually had a name. I will be the first to say that at one point in my marriage, I was guilty of committing this horrendous offense.

Wikipedia defines Financial Infidelity as the secretive act of spending money, possessing credit and credit cards, holding secret accounts or stashes of money, borrowing money, or otherwise incurring debt unknown or unwilling to one’s spouse, partner, or significant other.

Often time’s we don’t really think that a small purchase or a small secret stash of money is hurting anything or anyone, but it does. My vice was and still is shoes. I would buy a pair of shoes and hide them in the trunk of my car until I wanted to wear them. I would sneak them in the house and then hide them in the back of my closet a couple of day’s before I intended to wear them. My husband would hide tie’s, ascot’s and various other accoutrement’s until he was ready to wear them. When we would see these new item’s we would both hit the roof, because we both knew that the other had spent a pretty penny on the item’s. Today, we no longer hide these purchases, instead we discuss the and make sure that the funds are there for the purchase. That’s much better than lying, sneaking and hiding.

According to a January 2014 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, a Denver-based non profit, financial infidelity is not uncommon. One in three people involved in this survey that said they co-mingled their finances, also said they either committed or experienced an act of financial deceit.

The clearest sign of possible financial infidelity is missing or misdirected documents. If your partner has bank statements, credit card bills or other important financial information sent to his or her office or other address instead of your home, deception could be at work.

Here are a few other sign’s to look for if you suspect that your spouse may be committing financial infidelity:

 

  • You’re cut off from a joint credit card.
  • You see no activity by your partner on a card you’ve normally both used.
  • You receive statements in the mail from a financial company you’ve never heard of.
  • Your partner intercepts bills and statements so you don’t see them.
  • Cash goes missing or is unaccounted for.
  • Sudden or unusual claims of financial hardship
  • Spending addictions (mine was shoes)
  • Money Moodiness (never really wanting to have a discussion about the finances)

Financial infidelity is real, I have been a culprit and a victim. Stop right now and have that money discussion, move that elephant out of the room.

Be sure to follow me on social and to share on your social media platforms.

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Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie Threadford

Contouring your pockets, lifting your bottomline and highlighting your future

 

 

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Thrifty Thursday: How I Eat HEALTHY For Free

thrifty thursday how i eat healthy for free
Eat Free!

 

One nifty trick I use to keep my refrigerator full for minimal costs are community gardens. I frequent Huntsville, Alabama A LOT, as I have a son that lives there. I always stop by the Huntsville Community Garden and load up on seasonal vegetables. Huntsville has several and there are a few in Madison as well. This past weekend, I was able to get enough turnip greens and kale to take me through the winter. When I come back next time, the collard fields will be open and I will stock up on those as well. You can pick as much as you want and it is absolutely FREE! People think it is expensive to eat healthy, not so.

I know you are wondering what I do with all of those greens. Some I cook, some I put in my smoothies, and some I share with other family members. I make it a point to fill up my trunk with plenty. I know we eat more than turnips, kale and collards, but it does help on my grocery bill that I really never have to buy collards, turnips and kale.

I know we have community gardens here in Birmingham, but I am not familiar with them. It may be worth a look to see what the stipulations are for the one’s here.  Take a look at my pics from my trips this past weekend. I can’t wait till the spring, I will be stocking up on okra! Have a great week!

 

thrifty thursday how i eat healthy for free
Turnip’s
thrifty thursday how i eat healthy for free
Picking Turnip’s
thrifty thurdsay how i eat healthy for free
Huntsville Community Garden
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Twas The Night Before A Debt Free Christmas

twas the night before a debt free christmas
Merry Christmas from The Money Make-Up Artist

Twas the night before a debt free Christmas and all through the house not one credit card was used, not even for mamas pretty frilly blouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, as all of the grands knew stock options would be there.

The grandkid’s were all nestled in their beds, while visions of financial freedom danced in their heads

And me in my kerchief and William in his cap, had just settle down for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the roof arose such a clatter I sprang from the bed and sent William to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he flew like a flash, tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below, when what to his wondering eye’s should appear, but the three credit bureau CEO’s looking with wonderment and fear.

With the CEO of each bureau questioning the Threadford’s of this debt-free Christmas feat, I knew in a moment they were about to feel the heat.

More rapid than eagle’s their credit card companies came and the CEO’s whistled and shouted and called them by name.

“Now Visa Now Discover

Now Amex and Master Card

On Best Buy! On Capital One!

On Chase and Barclay Card!

They aren’t using credit

this Christmas at all

Now cash today! Cash today!

Cash today all!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky

So up to the house-top the credit card companies they flew

with a sleigh full of debt, and the CEO’s too

And then in a twinkling I heard really hard

the swipping and swiping of each credit card

as William drew in his head and was turning around

down the chimney the CEO’s came with a bound

They were dressed in all black from head to foot

as their clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot

a bundle of debt they had waiting in their hands

and they looked like they had no other plans

Their eyes how they sparkled their faces all merry

as they tried to convince him of debt he should carry

their droll little mouths were drawn up in a scowl

and their shrill little voices sounded like a howl

their ink pens were held tight in their hands

as they waited to raise credit limits for the Threadford clan

Then out of the room Tracie Threadford came

with fire in her eyes and flames on her tongue

she shouted and fussed “No debt this Christmas now leave

before I cuss’!

They knew what was good for them

so they turned to leave

but not without one last trick up their sleeves

They begged and they pleaded with promises of

30-40% cash back for each purchase of love

As Tracie took a few steps their way

they knew they better not stay

she waved them out from her sight

with a  “Merry Debt Free Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

May you all have a Merry Christmas and make it a debt free Christmas if you can!

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9 Way’s To Protect Your Identity

9 way's to protect your identity
Protect Your Identity

In today’s society, identity theft is all to common. It seems as if every time you listen to the news, another corporations system has been hacked and the hackers made off with thousands of customers credit card and identity information. We even hear of identity thieves being able to obtain your credit or debit card number as we stand in line to purchase groceries. As technology and communication forms change, criminals are finding different way’s to prey on innocent hardworking people. The good news is-you can take some simple steps to protect your identity and save yourself from many headaches in the future. Read on to find out 9 way’s you can protect your identity.

1. Remember To Take Your Receipt. Often times I have failed to take my receipt, because I knew the cashier at a certain store, and I trusted that she would dispose of it for me. Luckily for me she did properly dispose of it. Certain receipts may contain personal information, so never leave your receipts.

2. Keep Your Social Security Number Safe.  Never, ever keep your social security card in your wallet. Make sure to keep it in a safe place. Make sure any other documents that may contain your social security number are kept in a private safe place.

3. Don’t Give Personal Information Over The Phone. This is something that I constantly remind the older people in my family. Be very wary of anyone who requests your personal information via telephone, especially if they are calling you and you are not the one placing the call.

4. Report Lost Or Stolen Cards IMMEDIATELY. Alert the creditor of each card so they can cancel the lost or stolen card and issue you a new one.

5. Beware of Scammers. I know we all hear about the email scam’s where you receive an email telling you that you have inherited millions of dollars, or something to that effect. Scammer’s even try to make you believe that they are employees of certain companies, like the Alabama Power scam presently going on. Don’t give any personal information via email and make sure to research and check people before conducting personal business.

6. Inquire About Privacy Policies. Every business should have a privacy policy. Check and see what information they need from you and why they need it, that way you don’t disclose more than what is needed.

7. Only Log Into Personal Accounts From Home. I am guilty, I sometimes log into my bank account at work. I feel safe at work, and maybe some of you do too. Feeling safe is no excuse, you should never conduct personal business on a public or work computer.

8. Go Paperless. Having your account statements sent online in a secure environment prevents them having to go through the mail where they can be stolen. If you are like me and just have to have a paper statement, have a separate mailing address where there is someone there that can retrieve the mail as soon as the mailman puts it in the box.

9. Shred Your Junk Mail. I know you are thinking, why would I shred my junk mail, it doesn’t have my personal information on it. WRONG! It has your name, and that may be all an identity thief needs to carry out their wicked plan. Sometimes, credit card offers have a temporary card in them and in the wrong hand’s this card could be activated and used.

You know I want to hear from you. What do you do to ensure that your identity stays protected? Comment below and let me know.

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Everything You Need To Know About Personal Finance

 

everything you need to know about personal finance

Getting a handle of managing your basic personal finances can return many financial rewards including providing you with more free time to pursue your interests and freed up money to invest. The basic elements of anyone’s personal finances include a personal budget, savings and investment planning, managing your income and outgoings resourcefully as well as applying for loans and finance and various insurance policies you may need over your lifespan. Here are five thing’s you need to know in order to balance your personal finances effectively.

1. Budget– I cannot stress enough how important it is that you have a budget. Working without a budget usually leaves you mystified as your paycheck seems to disappear; leaving you empty-handed by the time the end of the month rolls around and it’s time to pay the bills or put food on the table. In addition, when you create a budget, you begin to see a clear picture of how much money you have, what you spend it on, and how much, if any is left over. Without a budget, your finances will be all over the place. If you want to learn how to create a budget that works, then be sure to register for my FREE 30 day budget bootcamp beginning January 1, 2016.

2. Invest-To be more efficient in dealing with personal finance basics, it is important to choose wisely when and how to invest. Put your money to work earning interest in a savings account or returns in a retirement fund or a mutual or index fund or build equity in your home by paying down your mortgage. Better yet, increase your assets by investing in a few of these options, while keeping a liquid savings account for emergencies. Failing to take advantage of free money is a common personal finance mistake amounting in money lost to inflation and missed opportunity. Be cautious of investments that promise a high return with little or no risk.

3. Practice Debt-Management– If you are striving to be debt free, create a sound budget and cut unnecessary expenses. Mis-managing your debt through overspending, failing to budget or high interest rates can quickly send you in a downward spiral. The best way to handle debt is to stay out of it in the first place. Remember to stay away from temptation to “buy now, pay later” and only take loans for the essentials in life: education, transportation and habitation. As a general rule, do not finance anything for longer than its useful life. Keep your credit score high by keeping tabs on your credit report and paying your bills on time.

4. Get Insurance-You are working hard to build a firm financial footing for you and your family, so it needs to be protected. Accidents and disasters can and do happen and if you aren’t effectively insured it could leave you in financial ruin. Quality insurance can protect your life, your ability to earn income, and to keep a roof over your head.

5.Save For Retirement– With fewer companies offering full pension plans and the uncertainty of Social Security, it is more important than ever to save and plan for your retirement.  Unfortunately many people feel that they simply don’t have enough money left over each month to save. Retirement savings should be a top priority instead of an afterthought.

So there you have it! If you utilize these five tip’s, you are on your way to financial freedom! As usual, I want to hear from you, let me know if you have any other tip’s to share.

Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

Helping you contour YOUR pockets, lift YOUR bottom line and highlight YOUR future

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