Today, more people are using credit cards to make everyday purchases than ever before. Many of us obtained our credit cards when we were younger and we continue to use it because it is a convenient payment option for us. However, as time goes by, the credit cards we hold may stop being the best credit card for our needs. Here are some of the signs that indicate it may be time for us to switch credit cards.
Your Credit Score Has Increased
If your credit score has increased significantly since the last time you applied for a credit card, you may be able to get a better deal when you apply for a new credit card. The interest rate that you are charged for credit card purchases is directly linked to how high your credit score was when you first applied for the credit card. If your credit score is higher now, you should qualify for a new credit card with a lower interest rate and lower or no usage fees.
Your Credit Card Does Not Offer Relevant Rewards
Because the credit card industry has become very competitive with many new players entering the market, many credit card companies are offering attractive rewards for obtaining and using their credit cards. Some credit cards offer cash back on purchases while some others offer points that can be redeemed for travel or other things that you want. If you use credit cards frequently, these rewards can be lucrative. If the credit card you are currently using does not offer relevant rewards that you can use, it may be a sign that it is time to switch credit cards.
Your Credit Card Has A Low Limit
Credit cards issued to those with less than optimal credit generally have lower limits than credit cards offered to those with higher credit score. If you obtained your credit card before you were able to build up a good credit profile, there is a good chance that you are holding a credit card with a low limit. Obtaining a credit card with a higher limit will give you more purchasing power and may raise your credit score by altering your credit usage ratio. It is important to remember to only spend what you can afford to pay off when obtaining a credit card with a higher limit because you can quickly get in over your head overspending on a credit card with a high limit.
According to a study from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, roughly 68 percent of employers surveyed offered some form of financial education program to their workers in the past year. These programs are aimed at teaching employees basic financial management skills that they can use to get their finances in order and budget effectively. The increase in workplace financial education programs will help millions of workers become more financially secure.
The workplace financial education programs tend to focus on several areas of personal finance, including budgeting, saving, and retirement investing. They teach workers about tax-advantaged retirement accounts and how to take advantage of employer matched contributions to a 401k. The programs may include group workshops and individual sessions where employees can talk about their financial situations in confidence. In some cases, the workers’ spouses are invited to participate in the program as well.
Research has suggested that offering workplace financial education programs results in less financial stress for employees and increased productivity. A survey by financial education provider Financial Finesse in 2014, found that 23 percent of workers report that their financial stress levels are “high or overwhelming.” That number leapt to 58 percent for women below the age of 30 with young children who earn less than $60,000.
Financial decision making does not come easily to many American workers because they have not been taught personal finance skills in an educational setting. Few states across the country have mandated personal finance classes as a requirement for graduation. Financial management classes in college are optional unless you are working towards a degree in a select few fields of study.
The savings rates of American workers are abysmal, with many people having no savings at all to fall back on in the event of an unexpected financial emergency. This leads to increased reliance on expensive forms of credit, including credit cards, cash advances, payday loans, and auto title loans. Using these types of credit often puts the person in a worst financial situation due to high fees, astronomical interest rates, and the repossession of their vehicles or property.
If you are having trouble managing your finances, a workplace financial education program may be just what you need to get your finances on track. Instead of constantly worrying about making more money to meet your various needs, you will learn techniques that will help you make the most of the income you are currently bringing in, putting you in a better place when you do receive that raise in the future.
If your job does not currently offer a financial education program, you may want to consider taking a personal finance class at a local community college or even educating yourself by reviewing financial management techniques online. All of these solutions will help you take control of your finances so you will be more financially secure in the future.
Filing your annual income taxes can be a confusing process, especially if you do your own taxes. While tax preparation software has made filing personal income taxes much easier, the programs are only as good as the information entered into to them. If you forget to add in all of the tax deductions and tax credits you are entitled to, it can cost you a considerable amount in additional tax charges and reduce the amount of your income tax refund. Here are some of the most frequently missed tax deductions and tax credits.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit
The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a tax credit for those who are paying for college tuition and associated fees. This tax credit provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the taxes you owe based on the amount of money spent paying for college costs. Tax filers get a 100 percent credit for the first $2,000 spent and another 25 percent credit for the next $2,000 spent, for a maximum total of $2,500 in tax credits. To be eligible, your adjusted gross income must be $80,000 or less if single and $160,000 or less if married and filing jointly.
Retirement Savings Tax Deductions
Many people forget to take the tax deductions that they are eligible for based on their retirement savings. If you contributed to an individual retirement account in 2014, you should qualify for a deduction to give you a break on your current taxes. Your broker should send you paperwork confirming your contributions for the 2014 tax year on IRS Form 5498.
When people 70 or older take their required distributions from their 401k and IRA, they are given the option to have income taxes automatically withheld from the withdrawn funds. If they forget to mark this on their 1040 form, they could end up paying taxes on the withdrawals twice. Look closely at the 1099-R forms to determine whether the taxes have already been paid before filling out the tax forms.
Tax Expense Tax Deductions
Individuals that itemize their income taxes can take a tax deduction for tax related expenses paid for during the tax year, including for tax preparation software, financial advisor fees, and subscriptions to professional publications. These deductions can be taken once they have exceeded 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Certain investing expenses can be written off as well.
If you love cars and you wish to obtain them at the lowest possible prices then you should try autoliising or car leasing. A car lease can be defined as a commercial finance product wherein the customer approaches a financier to purchase a car of the customer’s choice. The financier then leases the car to the customer and he/she will have to pay a certain sum of money every month. The sum is pre-determined and so is the time period for the lease. Having a car lease does not mean that you own the car; it simply means that you are allowed to use it on a rental basis. This type of arrangement is even more beneficial than a car loan!
Who should opt for autoliising?
Car leasing is the ideal solution for those who love driving the newest or the latest automobile models which hit the market but do not have enough financial resources to change their cars every now and then. Thus, if you are one of those people who love driving a new car every few years then auto leasing would work in your favor. After leasing a car and using it for a few years you can simply hand over the keys to the financier and move on to leasing some new model of vehicles.
Benefits of Autoliising
Autoliising offers a lot of benefits to people, however it is quite unfortunate that not many people are aware of it and hence they turn to traditional solutions such as taking a car loan. Now, since this type of arrangement calls for an upfront payment so there is no need to worry about the car’s depreciation at all. For instance, if the car to be leased cost about $40,000 and after two years its resale value after deducting the depreciation is about $25,000 then the lease figure would be just $15,000. This is the amount that the customer needs to pay in an installment basis every month. The calculations are made assuming that the customer drives an average of 12000 miles every year.
Thus, from the above example it is quite evident that a car lease offers a lot more in terms of value as opposed to a car loan. After all, the payments in terms of the car lease are lower than the selling price of the car; therefore it is of course a better deal! Moreover, unlike in the case of car loans, the customer does not need to have pristine credit reports or scores in order to take out a car lease.
Another benefit offered by autoliising is that it allows the customer to drive new cars every now and then. After the end of the lease of a car, the customer simply needs to surrender the keys and other documents and smoothly slide into a brand new car lease for another car. If you can keep up with the limitations of a car lease (for e.g: you never get ownership rights to the car) then you will find that this is a great solution for keeping more money in your pocket!