Know Your Financial Strength
By Shannon M. Medisky
If you’ve ever written a resume or had to sell yourself in an interview, you know how important it is to know your strengths. Believe it or not, it’s just as important to know your financial strength as well. After all, when it comes to your hard earned money, ignorance is most definitely not bliss. If you’re currently scratching your head and wondering what yours is or where in the world to begin finding out, have no fear, keep reading to find out.
Know your credit score. You’ve likely heard this time and time again, but it’s certainly a must. If you think you have to pay for this information, think again. Consumers are legally entitled to one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus each year. To get yours, visit AnnualCreditReport.com (the only authorized source for consumers to access this information for free via the Internet) or call directly at 1-877-322-8228. Another great way to also get this information and keep tabs throughout the year is to outright ask for it. Each and every time someone asks for permission to pull a credit report on you, ask that you also be given the information. While they might not be able to actually give you a printed copy, they’ll most likely be able to give you your three scores as well as briefly go over thing that looks questionable.
Your credit score is not just important when it comes to applying for credit. Renters beware, many landlords pull credit histories to check out the payment track records of potential future tenants. Looking for a job? Even some employers may ask permission to pull your credit report to verify employment history and your social security number.
Know your resources. Your financial resources aren’t just limited to what’s in your bank account. Don’t forget retirement accounts, whole life insurance policies even various collections can add to your financial resources. Granted these resources aren’t liquid assets (a resource that can be turned into cash quickly with minimal loss), but they do aid in building financial security nonetheless. Keep track of them and treat them as such.
Money talks, but cash can scream. Paying cash will always save you money. You’ll avoid paying interest rates and, when negotiating is possible, you’ll likely be able to finagle a better price. Strengthen your ability to save money and let your cash do the talking – no screaming – whenever possible to help your bottom line.
Know your own cash-creating strength. Anyone who’s living in today’s economy cannot argue with the fact that no one can claim absolute job security. Gone are the days of staying with one company for years on end. Members of today’s workforce have to be ready to reinvent themselves time and time again. Remaining flexible and maintaining an up-to-date skill set will not only help insure your next paycheck, it will help prevent against an inability to find new work should the need arise. For your own sanity and financial stability, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The way you do that is by keeping tabs on your own cash-creating strength (a.k.a. your ability to gain new employment in your current field or any other should the need arise).
Photo credit: lululemon athletica
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