Financial Literacy is the knoweldge gained to implement the most effective and successful money mangement practices. Financial Literacy is vital for an individuals' professional and personal growth. One of the goals here at Dillard University is to help our students make informed and effective decisions when it comes to managing financial resources. We want you to increase your skills and knowledge on:
-CREDIT AND CREDIT CARDS
What are budgets and why should I have one?
A budget is a record of an individual’s income and expenses that will guide the individual to be financially successful. A budget can be as simple as writing down basic monthly income and expense amounts on a piece of paper or creating a detailed worksheet with information for each day of the week. A budget can help individuals reach a variety of financial goals such as saving for a car or encourage an individual to spend less money on clothes or eating out.
Guideline for Creating a Budget
- Track your expenses for a month so you know exactly where you are spending your money
- Evaluate your income vs. expenses
- Classify your expenses into wants and needs
- Determine if the expenses in the ‘want’ category can be reduced
- Create your budget for a week or month and stick to this budget
- Write down your short-term and long-term financial goals, so that while you are following your budget you know what goals you are trying to achieve
- Develop a sample budget worksheet to help you get started – here’s a sample: http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/budget101/budget_101.jsp
Credit and Credit Cards
What is Credit?
Credit is your reputation as a borrower. It tells others how likely you are to repay your debts. Credit is made up from information about your borrowing history. Most of the information comes from your credit reports.
What is a Credit Report?
A credit report contains information about your borrowing history. Lenders provide information that ends up on credit reports. How much you borrow, your repayment history and other details about your borrowing behavior are on your credit report. When someone wants a credit report, it is requested from a credit reporting company. These agencies collect and distribute all of your information.
What is a Credit Score?
Credit agencies use your credit history to determine a credit score. These scores are determined by a computer program that runs through your credit report. It looks for patterns (such as on time payments), characteristics and any red flags that may need to be tended to. Credit scores are used for multiple areas in your life such as lending decisions for cars or mortgages, insurance and even employment approvals.
The Need to Build Credit
If you do not have a credit history, lenders do not know if they should lend you money. It is not able to be determined if you are a responsible debt-payer or a bad risk. You need to build credit in order to prove your creditworthiness. Young adults who are just starting to learn about financial responsibilities need to build credit. However, remember that credit can be a useful tool but it can also get you into trouble. After you begin building credit you may be inundated with tempting new credit offers. Banks, credit card companies and others will want to loan to you as you are a good borrower. Don’t take every offer — only borrow money when it is truly beneficial to you.
How to Monitor Credit?
After you build credit, you must monitor it. The US Government requires that the credit bureaus provide an annual free credit report to you and you should take advantage of this right by visiting the site below under additional resources.
Basic Guidelines for Credit Card Use
Getting your first credit card is a big step and one that affects your future. A credit card is serious. Credit card companies are lending you money and you have responsibilities.
One card is most likely enough. Avoid the temptation of having more than one card.
Keep the balance as low as possible. Pay off your balance each month of possible. If that is not possible, pay as much as you can over the minimum payment each month. Use the card for emergencies and keep cash and checks for everyday purchases. Create a spending and budget plan. Do not let credit card payments exceed 20% of your monthly income.
If having a credit card turns into a problem, stop using it for a while until it is back under control.
FREE ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and Trans — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to credit reporting companies. A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. For details on how to obtain a free credit report, click this link Free Report .
What is Personal Finance?
Personal finance is the application of the principles of finance to the monetary decisions of an individual or family unit. It addresses the ways in which individuals or families obtain, budget, save and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events. Components of personal finance might include checking and savings accounts, credit cards and consumer loans, investments in the stock market, retirement plans, social security benefits, insurance policies, and income tax management. The key component of personal finance is financial planning, which is a dynamic process that requires regular monitoring and reevaluation.
In general, it has five steps:
- Assessment – One’s personal finance situation can be assessed by compiling simplified versions of financial balance sheets and income statements.
- Setting goals – Goal-setting is done with an objective to meet certain financial requirements.
- Creating a plan – The financial plan details how to accomplish goals. It could include, for example, reducing unnecessary expenses, increasing one’s employment income, or investing in the stock market.
- Execution – Execution of one’s personal financial plan often requires discipline and perseverance. Many people obtain assistance from professionals such as accountants, financial planners, investment advisers, and lawyers.
- Monitoring and reassessment – As time passes, one’s personal financial plan must be monitored for possible reevaluation and/or adjustments.
Life Skills: We have partnered with USA Funds to offer our students USA Funds Life Skills lessons. These lessons teach students basic strategies for managing finances wisely and completing their degree work on time.
Click HERE to begin.