Money-Smart Kids

Where are the Money-Smart Kids?

If basic, yet essential, information on budgeting, borrowing, saving and investing isn’t learned early in life, most young people will have a huge deficit in this very important life skill when they leave home to live on their own.

Kids need to know the meaning of credit and debt before they get out into the “real” world and begin signing contracts on cellphones and credit cards without knowing the trouble they could be getting into. Too often they find themselves with an overdue bill and no money to cover it.

Parents and schools need to band together to teach our young people the basics (at least) of money management. According to comedian James Cunningham, who has set up a national financial literacy program that is sponsored by the IEF and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization, young people need to know how to save, invest and spend their money.

Cunningham uses humor in his program “Funny Money” to give young people the following three tips regarding money management:

1) Know how much money you have and the sources of your income and write it down. Keeping track of your money allows you to see how much money you make, what you can afford and how long it will take you to pay back a loan based on this income.
2) Take control of your money; don’t let your money control you! This means that before you get a credit card and charge a bunch of purchases, make sure you have some income so you can pay that bill off in full every month.
3) Save some money with every paycheck. You will be surprised at how quickly your money grows and you will love the feeling of taking the money you have saved and buying something outright, rather than making payments on it for the next several months.

You and Your Money with Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Creditaid is pleased to announce that we are a proud sponsor of You and Your Money seminar series with Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Gail Vaz-Oxlade will be in Winnipeg, Thursday, February 9, 2012 at Canad Inns Polo Park.

Also, don’t miss this opportunity to hear some expert financial advice from a variety of seminars from 2 pm-5 pm. Creditaid will be holding seminars on budgeting at 2:00, 2:30, 4:00 and 4:30.

Tickets can be purchased at Sofias Boutique 836 St Mary’s Rd, Winnipeg, Phone Number: 254-2595.

Tips to Help Kids Understand Debt

In order for children to fully understand finances and how money “works,” they have to learn about debt. The age of your child will determine how you define debt so they can understand.

Make sure you use terms and examples that they are already familiar with.

You can begin with the concept of borrowing something such as a toy from a friend. Explain the need to return the toy to its owner. And if the toy can’t be returned in its original condition then it needs to be replaced by a similar item of equal value. Your child should be able to understand that until that item is replaced, paid for, he is in debt to the person who owned the item.

For the “tween” set you can use real money items and examples. Set up a scenario where your child wants something, a new bicycle, for instance. Write down and discuss the amount of money the bike costs, the amount of money your child has, the amount of money he earns through allowance, or anticipates receiving for a gift, etc.

Talk about whether or not he can “afford” the bike right now, and if he can pay it off within a reasonable amount of time. This discussion will include installment payments where instead of paying back the “loan” with all of their allowance each week, they pay smaller amounts so as to keep some money for their usual “living expenses.” It’s important to work financial terms into the conversation as soon as you child is able to understand them.

Then, actually carry out a transaction. Keep it written down; sign a contract, have them make payments and even set up an amortization schedule so they can see how interest works. Going through this process will give your child an excellent opportunity to learn about personal finances.

New Year-New Beginnings – Financial goals

The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh, make some changes and set some goals.  Now is as good a time as any to evaluate your income, expenses and overall financial health and set some goals.

Here are a few things to look at when it comes to setting financial goals:

Retirement: Depending on your age, retirement can seem like a lifetime away, or it can be right around the corner. No matter your age, now is the time to look at what is available for retirement income, and if it is deemed to be not enough, now is the time to start saving towards that goal.
Insurance: get out your policies, health, life, auto, property, etc. Talk to your agent to see if you are appropriately covered.

Debt Reduction:Consolidate current debt and don’t create more- that means cutting up the credit cards and gaining control of spending.

Savings: Besides controlling spending, you’ll want to amass some savings; typically the interest rate on investments is considerably lower than the interest rate on your line of debt so by saving rather than paying down debt, you’re actually losing money. That’s where you need to strike a balance: you need to invest some, but at the same time reduce the debt.

Additional Income:Think about the possibility of getting a second part time job. If you’re living comfortably on your current income, the income from a second job can go directly on debt or mortgage or into retirement or another fund for education or a trip or an emergency.

Once you set your financial goals, it’s good to revisit them every few months. Six months from you will be motivated to continue your financial plan when you see how well it’s working for you!

Unexpected Repair Bills Can Put You in Hot Water

Owning your own home is something that gives a person a sense of independence and accomplishment. You are no longer paying monthly rent payments on property that doesn’t belong to you. You are building equity in your home instead. When you purchase your home, your mortgage company will generally assess your financial situation to determine whether or not you can afford the payments on the home you are purchasing. They know that it is in their best interest to keep you from purchasing a home you cannot afford.

In spite of this careful financial screening by your mortgage company, financial positions can change after you make the purchase. Even when you are able to make your house payments, there may be little, if any, extra cash for repairs and maintenance to the home you own.

Unfortunately, repairs to your home can’t always be planned for. If your furnace dies in the middle of the winter, you have to replace or repair it. If you have water damage that isn’t covered by your insurance, those repair costs will have to paid by you, the homeowner. These types of unexpected expenses can break a family’s budget that is already stretched to its limits.

If you’ve found yourself in this spot and don’t know how you’re going to get out of this downward financial spiral, Creditaid may be able to help. Contact us for your free consultation.

Digging Your Way Out of Job Loss Debt

Losing a job is one of those unexpected circumstances that can put our finances out of balance. Even when you have some notice that a job is coming to an end, you still have to deal with the uncertainly of how long you will be without work. When these two unknown factors are combined, they can make financial management very difficult.

We all want to approach difficult circumstances with a positive and hopeful attitude. The same is true when we have a job loss. Unfortunately, that hopeful perspective can sometimes mean that we finance many items with the use of credit cards, with the assumption that we will soon be working again, and able to pay off the credit card charges. If our time without work stretches out longer than we expected, we can easily find our debt growing out of control.

Interest on unpaid balances on credit cards accumulate very quickly. If payments are missed, those interest rates can increase and have penalties added to them besides. Before you know it, what seemed like a manageable amount of debt has turned into an intimidating mountain.

The good news is that the mountain doesn’t need to keep growing. There is a way out. Even if you are still without a job, we can help you bring your debt back under control. Contact us for your free initial consultation with one of credit counselors. We are here to help.

Credit Card Offers Are Sexy

Back-to-school for many post secondary students means the onslaught of credit card offers that entice with low interest rates and perks – Free Trip Anyone?

Before you apply for that new credit card, ensure you educate yourself on how to handle credit and manage debt. Student debt is such an important thing to understand. It is the begining of establishing a solid financial start as an education is pursued.

Receivables Management Association of Canada – New Member

As a reflection of our continued commitment to our clients and the industry, Creditaid has recently become a member of the Receivables Management Association of Canada (RMA).
Receivables Management Association of Canada (RMA) vision is to become the first National association of its kind; extending into every province and territory to set the professional standards of our industry.
RMA Canada works with its members to promote the activities of all those connected to the industry by bringing their concerns to the attention of the authoritative bodies that control day-to-day activities.

5 Reasons Why You Should Pay More Than the Minimum

Credit card companies all provide you with at least two amounts on your monthly statement, the total balance due and the minimum payment due. The minimum payment will always be the lower amount. Those who have found themselves deep in credit card debt have often gotten there by choosing to pay only the minimum payment due. Here are five very good reasons why you should always pay more than the minimum.

1. Saves you money. How can paying more each month save you money? Easy! It’s called interest. The more you pay each month, the less interest you have to pay in the long run.
2. Get out of debt faster. Less interest means that you get the debt paid off faster.
3. Improved credit rating. Decreasing your debt will also improve your credit rating, which affects interest rates on loans and even your car insurance rates.
4. New charges. If you are continuing to use your card and only making the minimum payments, eventually you will reach your card limit and not no longer have a credit card available for items that require it for purchase, such as hotel rooms.
5. Better spending habits. Developing good spending habits will lower stress and improve your overall lifestyle. Paying off your credit card balance monthly is one of the best spending habits you can have.

If you have a balance on your credit card that you are making minimum payments toward, now is the time make a change. Quit using your card and find every means possible to increase your payments each month. You’ll be amazed how fast that balance can disappear.