Five credit tips

A teacher speaks to her class in Miami, Fla.

Remember these five tips from today's show on credit and debt.

  • Not all debt is bad debt. That's from Louis Barajas, a personal finance expert and a financial adviser.  "It's focusing on how you are spending the money and how it is going to leverage you to actually  make more money in the future," Barajas explains.  So what does that mean?  Don't think of debt as bad if you are investing in yourself, your productivity, or your education.
  • Keep perspective if you are paying debt down.  Always remind yourself of what you are looking forward to once the debt is paid off.  "If you have lost sight of that," Barajas says, "Then, it becomes drudgery."   
  • Research secured credit cards.   If you are looking to rebuild a credit score, you might want to try this type of card.  That's according to Gerri Detweiler  from Credit.com.  "If you don't have any credit now, getting a credit card, a secured card, for example is one of the fastest ways to establish credit," Detweiler explains.  How do those card work?  You give the lender money to insure you're good for the credit you get.
  • Late payments hurt your credit score.  John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com.  He answered a question many of our listeners asked this week:  How late can you send in a credit card payment?  "In order for a late payment to be reported to the credit reporting agencies, you have to be a full 30 days past your due date," he explains. 
  • Don't chase perks, points, cash back, miles. Remember what Ron Lieber of the New York Times says.  "The more spend in pursuits of these rewards, the more likely you are to get in debt," Lieber says. "Once  you are in debt, you'll be paying 12 or 18 or 29 percent a year and then the credit card companies win."

Don't let the credit cards companies win.      

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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