Your credit is a payment history showing whether or not you have paid outstanding debt as agreed. Based on credit information, creditors will determine if you are a good credit risk.
Also, click here to watch our video series on how to improve your credit score.
Your credit report is broken down into separate sections. Depending on which type of credit report you ordered, you may run into a few differences. You will receive a key to help you determine what the different codes mean. In general, your credit report will break down into 5 separate sections. Remember that they could be in a different order than listed below.
- Personal Information
- This will list all your personal information such as your name, social security number, previous addresses, and previous job history.
- Public Record Information
- This section will list any liens, bankruptcies, or judgments that are filed against you.
- Collection Accounts
- A collection account reflects when the original creditor was not successful in collecting a debt and that they chose to sell the account to a collection agency.
- Credit Accounts
- This is the bulk of your credit report. All secured and unsecured credit accounts and loans are listed with detailed payment history.
- Inquiries reflect any credit that has pulled your credit report.
Remember to review all of this information to make sure that it is correct.
A credit score is a 3-digit number that can influence credit available to you and what credit lenders will offer you.
35% Payment History: Are you paying you credit accounts on time?
30% Amounts Owed: Percentage of available credit that was borrowed.
10% Length of Credit History: A longer credit history will increase your credit score.
10% New Credit: How often do you open new credit accounts?
15% Types of Credit Used: What’s your mix of credit accounts?
To learn more about credit and credit scores visit myFICO.
Annual Credit Report
Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. This website is the only website that provides your credit report for FREE. Although you do not receive your credit score, pull your credit report to ensure that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date.
Overall, what is Identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone steals your social security number or account information and uses it without your permission. In fact, ID theft happens through:
- Family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers
- Stealing a purse or wallet
- Skimming account information
- Sending a phishing email or text
- Hacking personal data
- Stealing mail
- Searching through trash
- Stealing smartphones or computers
- Person impersonation
- Medical or business record
Also, for more information about how to prevent ID Theft, click here.
How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Keeping your personal information secure can help reduce the chances of your identity being stolen. Therefore, see what other steps the Federal Trade Commission suggests consumers should take.
How to Prevent ID Theft
See what precautions credit reporting agency, TransUnion, suggests consumers take to prevent your personal information from being stolen.
Stop unsolicited mail, calls, and spam. Also, reduce the number of unwanted and sometimes illegal messages.
Tips from the IRS
Check out 13 tips from the IRS to help you avoid becoming the victim of ID theft.
12 Steps for Identity Theft Victims
Check out the 12-step program for ID theft from Bankrate.
Signs of ID Theft
Do you think someone has stolen your identity? In general, once someone has stolen your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit card, or open new utility accounts.
Steps to Repair ID Theft
If you have been struck by identity theft, take immediate action.
Saving and Retirement
It is never too early to think about saving and retirement. Surely, check out the resources CCCS has provided to help you on your journey toward your saving and retirement goals.
Bank on Savannah
Are you considering opening a bank account? In fact, Bank on Savannah can help you manage your money better so you can see it grow. Also, being a apart of Bank on Savannah connects you with community organizations that can help you manage your account, create and maintain a budget, build better credit, and save for the future.
Overall, stickK is designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for you by allowing you to create “Commitment Contracts” to help you achieve your goals.
Savingforcollege.com was established to help individuals and professional advisors better understand how to meet the challenge of paying higher education costs.
Overall, America Saves is a campaign that seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low-to-moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
SaveAndInvest.org is a free, unbiased resource dedicated to your financial health. In fact, with easy-to-use tools and resources, SaveAndInvest.org helps you make informed financial decisions and arms you with the information you need to protect yourself from investment fraud.
In essence, Investor.gov is an online resource to help you invest wisely and avoid fraud.
Are You Saving Enough?
Overall, the AARP Retirement Calculator find out when and how to retire the way you want.
To summarize, Ready.Save.Grow. is a U.S. Department of the Treasury initiative to help people save and take control of their future.
In general, the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Planner tells you how to qualify for Social Security benefits, while also providing calculators to help you calculate your benefit estimates and tells you what affects your benefits.
Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement
Saving matters. Surely, check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement.
Social Security offers an online retirement application to receive benefits.
Overall, The Retirement Estimator from the Social Security Administration gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record.
Increase your Savings and Rebuild Your Emergency Fund
Have you recently drained your savings? On the other hand, are you just getting started with saving? Surely, you can use these tips from Smart About Money to build or rebuild your savings.
5 Ways to Grow an Emergency Fund
In general, life never goes as expected. Therefore, it is always good to have an emergency fund in the bank. Surely, check out tips from Bankrate to help you grow your emergency fund.
Emergency Fund Worksheet
To summarize, this worksheet from Smart About Money to find out how much money you will need to keep on your emergency fund.
Housing Resources: Are you falling behind or in danger of falling behind on your mortgage soon? Are you looking for housing? Surely, take advantage of the valuable resources below.
HOPE NOW is an alliance that helps homeowners in distress to help them stay in their homes. In fact, they will create a coordinated plan to help as many homeowners as possible.
Dream-Maker Home Buyer Assistance Program
The City of Savannah Housing Department offers Dream Maker home buying help. Also, they offer affordable loans for the down payment and closing costs.
SC Housing Search
SC Housing Search is a free service for listing and locating affordable housing.
GA Housing Search
GA Housing Search is a free service for listing and locating affordable housing.
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity administer and enforce federal laws. Further, they establish policies that make sure all Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.
Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council (SCFHC)
SCFHC’s mission is to provide all Savannah and Chatham County citizens fair housing services. Overall, they aim for the protection of equal housing opportunities from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability.
Homestead Exemption is a legal regime designed to protect the value of the home. Overall, it includes property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse.
Loan Modification Scam Alert is a campaign launched by NeighborWorks America. In general, they empower homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help, and report illegal activities to authorities.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) aim to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
Check out the senior resources below to help seniors continue to manage their money and learn about the resources available to them.
In summary, BenefitsCheckUp helps you find benefit programs that can help you pay for medication, food, utilities and more.
SeniorDiscounts.com is an online dictionary of businesses that offer discounts to people ages 50 and older. Currently, there is a list of over 250,000 businesses that offer discounts.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Overall, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines that they need for free or nearly free.
In general, Medbank helps eligible patients access large pharmaceutical company Patient Prescription Assistance programs to obtain free medication.
Property Tax Exemption
If you are a homeowner, you should make sure that you are applying for all of the property tax exemptions available to you.
Senior Citizens, Inc. has a mission to help people age successfully by providing services to seniors regardless of their ability to pay. In fact, their programs include Meals on Wheels, In-Home services, Senior Centers, Life-Long Learning programs, Care Advisors, and Free Transportation services.
Overall, the AARP Foundation wants to win back opportunities for seniors now in crisis with direct assistance, legal advocacy, and raising awareness.
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
The n4a advocates for older adults and persons with disabilities. Also, the n4a builds a society of members that supports and values people as they age.
National Council on Aging (NCOA)
In general, the NCOA is a nonprofit service and agency organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve.
Military service members and families face unique challenges and often have unique financial planning needs. The military resources below provide information and tools available to service members and their families.
For more military resources related to veterans in debt, click here.
Personal Finance for Military Families
Kiplinger and the Better Business Bureau partnered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to create this guide.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The CFPB provides information for services members on ways to plan for their financial future and hwo to protect their finances.
Overall, Military Saves is a campaign that seeks to motivate, support and encourage military families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
Service Members Civil Relief Act
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty.
Veterans Benefits Administration: You may be eligible for VA benefits if you area uniformed Servicemember; Veteran; or spouse, child or parent of a deceased or disabled Servicemember or Veteran.
Veterans Health Administration: In general, the Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 Veterans each year.
Education and Training: As a Veteran, you may be eligible for educational benefits through GI Bill programs.
Home Loans: Additionally, the VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and surviving spouses become homeowners.
Locations: Also, the VA has many resources available to Veterans and family members.
My HealtheVet: My HealtheVet offers tips and tools to help you partner with your health care team, so together you may work to manage your health.
It is never too early to begin creating good habits around personal finance. Therefore, CCCS provides student resources for students getting started with personal finance, preparing for college, or preparing to repay student loans.
For more student resources, click here.
Summer’s here and it’s your senior year. Also, you’ve decided to buy a car but you don’t have the cash yet, so you picked up a job. Finally, see if you can save money and make a budget for the next 10 weeks so you can get a car.
Test your money management skills by answering financial questions allowing you to move down the field and score touchdowns.
You just opened your first business selling t-shirts on your own website. Overall, see if you can keep it in business!
Complete FAFSA to get federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school. Further, to learn more about FAFSA, click here.
Saving for College
In summary, 529 Plans are education savings plans operated by state or educational institutions designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs.
Preparing for College
There is much to consider when it comes to getting ready for college. Therefore, it is never too early or too late to explore your options!
Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are free money to help you attend school. Therefore, find out what grants and scholarships you can get!
Repay Your Loans
Understand the repayment process from Federal Student Aid.
Deferment and Forbearance
Find out if you qualify for a deferment or forbearance which can temporarily postpone making payments or temporarily reduce the amount you pay.
Use the Repayment Estimator to estimate your federal student loan payments under each repayment plan.
Generation Money is about of Channel One News, which is a digital content provider focused on encouraging kids to be informed, digital-savvy global citizens.
Jump$smart Reality Check
Find out how much your so-called dream life will cost.
Kids.gov is the official kids’ portal for the U.S. government.
Junior Achievement programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential.
Financial Entertainment is a library of free online and mobile games that aim to improve personal financial capability, self-confidence, and knowledge.