I turned on the tv and saw a preview for a show with Suze Orman – the question for the Americans was “Can we Afford it … house, mortgage, trip, etc.”.  We have been an entitlist continent (I include Canada) – North America — in that we believe that we NEED IT NOW.  I am in my early 40s and when I grew up my father was a big believer in only buying what you can afford. Saying that, there were times in his early years with my mother that I am sure they lived beyond their means. However, as they started to accumulate wealth, money and assests, they made wise decisions to invest their money.  
I see with my friends and those slightly older than me that some,  not all, live somehow beyond their means.  This is likely true at certain times of our lives. Keeping that in mind, there comes a time, forced by the economy or just a personal decision when you need to know where you are at financially and are your making wise decisions. 
The time to stop doing this, living beyond our means, is RIGHT NOW.  If we are to teach our children to make good choices and decisions we need to lead by example.  We cannot expect our children to do more or better if we ourselves are not willing to do so. It may take a while however it is my belief that all financial situations (goes beyond to include everything in your life) can be turned around.  It may take years however it is about baby steps and taking the accountability and responsibility.

On that note I asked Maritza to start with questions regarding CREDIT.  This will likely continue to more questions and as she states, we are open to all sorts of questions. While this info may perain to the US it will be something similar in your country.
MARITZA: 

 1. What is a Fico Score?

A FICO score is a credit score derived from the credit model developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. The FICO score is the best-known credit score in the United States, and a version of the FICO score calculated by all three of the major credit bureaus from reported information. A higher FICO score indicates better credit 700-750, and a FICO score below 600 is considered poor.

Your credit card score influence the credit that’s available  to you and terms (interest rate etc.) that lender offer you.  It’s  a vital part of your credit card.

 Shopping for a credit card

Do all credit card charge a annual fee?

No.

Get a credit card that is 100 percent free. To shop for good  cards deals go to www.bankrate.com and www.cardweb.com

What grace period should I look for?

Look for at least three-week grace period. The grace period is the time between the end of your monthly billing cycle and when your payment is due.  Not every card has a grace period, so make sure it does and that if you pay your payments on time you won’t get charge any interest.

What is the best rate I should shop for if I can’t get zero annual rate?

Ideally your permanent rate should be 10-12% or less. With a good FICO score you should be able to get a low-rate credit card.

What is a fixed rate?

A rate which is permanent for the life of the loan. But beware, don’t fall for it; this is just one of endless ways credit card issuers love to confuse consumers. No matter what you hear, there is no true fixed-rate credit card. A credit-card issuer need only notify you thirty days in advance of any change to boost your interest rate.  Another tricky card game is how the interest on your balance is calculated. If your card issuer uses the two-cycle billing system and you tend to have an unpaid balance from time to time, you can end up paying a lot more than you anticipate.

If I find a better rate, is it a good idea to transfer the balance to the new card?

Absolutely. If you are paying 10 percent APR(Annual Percentage Rate) on your present credit card balances, transfer all the funds to a new card that charges you a lower APR. This is known as a balance transfer. Many card issuers will offer you an initial APR on a balance transfer that can be as low as zero percent for the first year.  To search for balance-transfer credit card deals go to www.find-cards-now.com . Word of advice, don’t use this card for any new purchases because the great zero percent rate or low rate you are given on transfers often does not apply to new purchases you make with that card. The same card that charges you zero percent on the money you transfer often will charge you 18 percent or more on new charges. The best thing I would do is to not use this card just use it to pay off your balance and get another credit card with low interest rate for your new purchases. 

If you have any questions regarding credit cards please feel free to send us your questions.

Sources I used to find the best answer to the above questions were from Suze Orman new book Women & Money.

Maritza Beltre
“You Become What You Think About, Your Thoughts Become A Reality”

 **On behalf of 2bempowered Inc. it is noted that the articles, thoughts and expressions are the opinions of the contributor(s) with the intent of providing guidance and breaking things down to the more simple. This site is not a site for financial planning per se. We suggest that you contact your financial planner, bank or the party that directs your money/estate.




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