This July, America Saves wants to make sure you and your family have the BEST SUMMER EVER! In fact, it’s so important to us, we’re giving away one prize each week! Introducing the #BestSummerEver Bucketlist Challenge!
How do you make it the #BestSummerEver? By focusing on what matters most (your family) and staying true to your savings goals while doing it!
Throughout the month, share your photos and videos enjoying low-to-no cost family activities! Simply post to Facebook and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BestSummerEverAS.
That’s it! Each Friday in July, we’ll announce our Prize Pack Winner. On August 1st we’ll announce our GRAND PRIZE WINNER!
- Winners must be subscribed to America Saves email list
- Winners must post on Facebook and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BestSummerEverAS
- The #BestSummerEverAS post must be made public, to be searchable
- Prizes not claimed via email or message within 72 hours will be forfeited
If you have not taken the America Saves Pledge yet, you can do it here:
Whatever your family unit looks like, everyone must work together if you want to make saving a priority. In most circumstances, we build our financial foundation from experiences that we go through as children and youth. In a financially stable household, everyone has a role to play.
For tips and tools on how everyone in your family can contribute to your household’s financial wellbeing, we encourage you to share the following articles, social media content, graphics and resources with your constituents, partners and the general public.
Your feedback is important to us. Please take a moment to complete a four-question survey on the usefulness of the resource packet material.
Want to start introducing good money habits to your children at a young age? Save with them! Have a piggy bank for each family member, adding to them at the end of each week. Get more #FamilyAffair Savings Tips at @AmericaSaves.
While many teens know they should save, most aren’t taught how. By giving them a clear plan of saving 10% of all money earned, they will learn good savings habits that will follow them throughout life. #FinancialLiteracy @AmericaSaves
Creating a list of free or low cost activities for your family to work through ensures a memorable summer vacation while keeping your savings and financial goals in check. Visit AmericaSaves.org for inspiration of your own #SummerSavingsBucketList
A lesson all kids can learn early: the pride that comes with #saving for something they want! Encouraging your child to sell toys they no longer play with, or even having a bake sale or lemonade stand puts them on the path to smart #money habits. Tip from @AmericaSaves
Family can be great accountability partners when it comes to saving! Make a savings goal, and choose a reward to celebrate once you accomplish it. Create a fun tracker so everyone can see your progress! Get more tips at @AmericaSaves or visiting americasaves.org.
From America Saves:
- Saving as a Family
- Making Family Savings Happen
- Coping with the Cost of Caregiving
- Moving? Start Preparing Your Finances Early
- Save Your Family Money By Going Green
- MyCreditUnion.gov - Hit the Road
- ConsumerFinance.gov - Money As You Grow Bookshelf
- ConsumerFinance.gov - How Life Events Can Teach Kids About Money
- ConsumerFinance.gov - Tips for School Age Kids
- ConsumerFinance.gov - Tips for Teens and Young Adults
- Wisebread.com - The Envelope Method
For use in communications that directly reach your constituents. We encourage you to use this content as guest posts or rewrite America Saves content as your own.
Four Easy Ways to Make Saving a Family Affair
Everyone in your household can play a role in the financial success of your home. Here are four easy ways to make saving a priority for everyone under your roof.
Saving as a Family
By Elizabeth Kiss, Ph.D., Kansas Saves
Sometimes when children hear their parents or other adults in their lives talking about cutting spending or saving money, they assume that the family is going through a rough patch. As appropriate based on children’s ages, family conversations about money goals, including saving and spending plans, reassure children. It is also a great way to introduce (or remind) children about the reasons we save.
Six fun ways to save as a family
By Janet Alvarez, Wisebread.com
Meeting financial goals as a family can be challenging. But inspiring your family to help and contribute to a financial goal doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially when the result is an exciting vacation, a car, or college savings. In the spirit of America Saves Week, I’ll share some ideas on how to save as a family for all those items and bucket-list experiences.
Written by Jeanne Thompson, Head of Workplace Solutions Thought Leadership, Fidelity Investments
My parents were hard-working first-generation Americans who were born during the Depression. My mother was a nurse and my father a businessman, and they were loving and supportive parents, but they were extremely frugal with money. “You’re only as rich as the money you have in the bank,” my mother used to say.
People who check their credit score regularly are more likely to understand how scoring works than those who don’t. The impact can be significant. Understanding how credit scores work translates into knowing how a credit score can impact interest rates and ultimately how much it costs individuals to borrow money.
Please share the article, social media content, graphics, and resources provided with your constituents, your partners, and the general public.
Your feedback is important to us. Please take a moment to complete a four-question survey on the usefulness of the resource packet material.
In This Packet:
For use in communications that directly reach your constituents. We encourage you to use this content as guest posts.
Do you know your credit score?
By America Saves
Credit reports and credit scores
By Northern New Jersey Saves / United Way of Northern New Jersey
Free credit freezes are coming soon
By Federal Trade Commission
People who check their credit score regularly are more likely to understand how scoring works than those who don’t, according to a new survey released by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore. The survey also revealed that the number of people who have checked their credit score recently has increased.
Whether you’re intending to use your credit soon or simply looking for ways to improve it for the future, here are three things you should know about your credit score:
- Missed payments can lower your score.
Did you know that if you miss a payment on your credit card, car note, or student loans your credit score can be negatively affected? Payment history is one of the major components of your credit score. When you pay your bills on time each month, your credit score will gradually start to increase. If you miss payments or your bill is sent to a collections agency, your score will decrease.
If you frequently miss payments, your score could drop significantly, and it will take time to raise it again. If you can’t afford to pay your balance in full, at least pay the minimum amount on time.
- Keeping a high credit card balance lowers your score.
Believe it or not, carrying a high credit card balance month to month can harm your credit score. Credit utilization is the percent of your credit limit that you use each month, and your credit utilization ratio is a key component of your credit score. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit card balance under 30 percent of your overall credit card limit. For example, if you have two credit cards that each have a limit of $500, your total available credit is $1,000. In this instance, you will want to keep your balance below $300, or 30 percent, of your total limit.
A large credit card balance can also feel overwhelming to pay down. When you aim for a low balance and pay your bill in full each month, you get a fresh start each billing cycle.
- Checking your credit report will not change your score.
Annual check-ups on your credit reports will make sure they are error-free and won’t impact your credit score. This can be done for free each year at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 800-322-8228.
Additionally, many financial institutions will let you check your credit score online for free. When you regularly monitor your score, you can see how your financial decisions are impacting your credit potential. Some tools may also show you how you measure up in the major credit scoring criteria, including payment history, utilization, and age of credit history.
Want to learn more about credit and your score? Take the short quiz offered by CFA and VantageScore online to test your knowledge at CreditScoreQuiz.org.
Darlene Aderoju works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.
A credit report looks at some of your bill paying history, public record information, how often you have applied for credit, and how you have used credit. It shows how much credit you have, how much of your available credit you are using, whether you have made your payments on time, and whether debt collectors have reported that they are attempting to collect debt that you owe.
Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit report, and many lenders use them to decide how much money they can lend you and how much interest to charge.
Why do credit reports and scores matter?
A good credit history can help you:
- Get and keep a job.
- Get and keep a security clearance for a job, including a military position.
- Get an apartment.
- Get insurance coverage.
- Get lower deposits on utilities and better terms on cell phone purchase plans.
- Get a credit card.
- Get a better credit score.
If any of these things are important to you, improving your credit report can help you get them. Scores are calculated based on the information in the report – so at least once a year, take the time to make sure the information in your report is accurate. You can get one free copy of your report every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com.
What are credit scores and how are they calculated?
Credit scores are numbers created by mathematical formulas that use key pieces of your credit history to calculate your score at a moment in time - like a photograph. FICO and VantageScore are two of the most commonly used credit scores. These scores typically range from 300 to 850. A FICO score above 700 is considered good by most businesses, and the scores considered the best are 750 and higher.
While there are certain similarities and many differences in the credit score formulas, here is information that FICO makes available to the public on what goes into its scores:
- Payment History: 35%
- Amounts owed: 30%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- New credit: 10%
- Types of credit used: 10%
Payment history tracks whether you are paying your bills on time and as agreed. Paying bills late, not paying bills at all, and having bills that go to collections will cause your scores to drop. The impact on a score from a single late or missed payment decreases over time. Paying your bills on time can help increase your score. Debts that go to collections and to judgment will cause it to fall.
To get and keep a good credit score:
- Pay all your loans and bills on time. A good way to ensure this happens is to have money put aside in a savings account in case a bill is higher than expected one month or you had an emergency that used money you had planned to use for bill paying. Saving a portion of your tax refund and having some funds automatically deposited from each paycheck into a savings account are easy ways to make sure you always have sufficient funds to make timely payments.
- Make sure information in your credit report is correct. Check your credit report annually and take steps to correct mistakes.
- If you currently have access to credit, don’t use too much of the credit that is available to you.
For more information on credit scores and reports, visit: www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/category-credit-reporting/
Lynn Weckworth works for United Way of Northern New Jersey, a nonprofit coordinator of Northern NJ Saves. Some of the content in this blog has been excerpted from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Your Money Your Goals
By Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Division of Consumer & Business Education, as published on militaryconsumer.gov
Looking for stronger ways to protect your credit? Thanks to a new federal law, soon you can get free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts. Here’s what to look forward to when the law takes effect on September 21:
Free credit freezes
What is it? A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Usually, you get a PIN to use each time you want to freeze and unfreeze your account to apply for new credit.
What’s new? Currently, credit freezes may involve fees, based on state law. Starting this fall, it will be free to freeze and unfreeze your credit file throughout the country.
Free child credit freezes
What is it? A child credit freeze allows you to freeze a child’s credit file until the child is old enough to use credit.
What’s new? Currently, some state laws allow you to freeze a child’s credit file. Starting September 21, no matter where you live, you’ll be able to get a free credit freeze for children under age 16.
Year-long fraud alerts
What is it? A fraud alert will tell any business that runs your credit that they should check with you before opening a new account.
What’s new? Currently, fraud alerts last 90 days. Starting this fall, an initial fraud alert will last for one year. It will still be free and identity theft victims can still get an extended fraud alert for seven years.
The new law has a long name – Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act – but the outcome is simple. When the law takes effect in September, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion must each set up a webpage for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes. The FTC will also post links to those web pages on IdentityTheft.gov.
And if you’re in the military, there’s more. Within a year, credit reporting agencies must offer free electronic credit monitoring to all active duty military.
If you want to stay tuned on this law and get other tips, sign up for the FTC's Consumer Information Updates.
Share the following messages with your followers.
Keep your balance low. Maintaining low credit utilization is a sign of good credit management and shows lenders you are a good credit risk. http://bit.ly/2AyDAS8 v/ @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
Use your credit wisely! Avoid applying for multiple accounts in a short period of time. Taking on large amounts of debt in a short time is a sign of high credit risk. >> http://bit.ly/2fw2jgh v/ @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
A study by @FederalReserve says that credit can affect your relationship. Check out this info from @FINRAFoundation about how credit can affect your love life. http://bit.ly/2BkIXms v/ @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
You can get out of debt and save money by managing your debt and credit responsibly. http://bit.ly/2lQia9y v/ @AmericaSaves #WednesdayWisdom
Never miss a credit payment! According to @USAAEF, 35 percent of your FICO credit score is based on your payment history. >> https://bit.ly/2zVezAl @AmericaSaves #WednesdayWisdom
If you want to start investing, check out these tips from The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. https://bit.ly/2sVKJp6 v/ @MilitarySaves cc: @SEC_Investor_Ed #WednesdayWisdom
A high #credit score can make it easier to get an apartment, utilities, or even a job. http://bit.ly/2AwCKoJ v/ @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
Carrying a large balance on your credit cards from month to month can lower your credit score. v/ @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
Let @AmericaSaves help you stay committed to your savings goal! Take the pledge today: http://bit.ly/2dFhJf9
Want your free #credit report from the three main credit bureaus? All you have to do is ask! http://bit.ly/2AwBTo8 @AmericaSaves
Have a savings tip or story that others might benefit from? Share it w/ @AmericaSaves and you could win $25: http://bit.ly/2oiP4iv
From America Saves
- 6 Ways to Jump-start Your Credit Score
- Building Credit and Keeping Yours Healthy
- Credit Scores and Credit Reports- Why Does It Matter?
- Don't know much about credit scores? Start by checking yours.
- Get the Scoop on Credit Scores
- Lowering Debt Can Raise Your Credit Score
- The 5 Pillars of Credit: What Goes Into Your Credit Score
- Things to Watch Out for When Looking at Your Credit Report
- Two Free Mobile Apps That Can Help You Better Manage Your Credit
- When Good Credit Is Romantic: Your Credit Score May Affect Your Love Life
Resources and Research
Annual Credit Report (once-a-year), AnnualCreditReport.com or (877) 322-8228
Better Money Habits, Building credit and keeping yours healthy
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Credit reports and scores
Credit Reporting Bureaus
FINRA Investor Education Foundation:
Hands on Banking, Wells Fargo, All about credit
Money Under 30, How Credit Works: Understand The Credit History Reporting System
The USAA Education Foundation:
- How Do They Calculate My Credit Score
- Why Does Paying On Time Matter?
- Why Should I Think About Credit?
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