7 Secrets to stay financially fit and healthy in the year 2012

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Ask Jason

Are you too busy in purchasing fresh turkeys, vegetables, and Christmas gifts from the supermarket? Are you spending your evenings in planning for the Christmas celebrations? Do you even realize that the New Year is knocking at the door? If you make some time out of your busy schedule and have a look at the calendar, then you'll realize that the New Year will be arriving within a month. Due to this reason, you should start making your financial plans for the year 2012 at the very beginning of the December 2011. This will enable you to start the New Year at a good financial note. Read along to dig out the secrets to stay financially healthy in the next year.

Secrets to stay financially fit in the New Year

Here are the 7 secrets to remain financially fit in the next year:

1. Behave smartly in front of your banker: You're not compelled to accept whatever your bank says. You are an independent person who needs to think wisely before accepting a new checking account fee introduced by your banker. If you don't feel like a paying the new fee, then express your opinion to the banker before switching banks. Tell your banker that you're not ready to pay this fee and can close your account any time. Talk smartly with your banker. In the year 2011, several consumers have switched banks. Some have even shifted their loyalties to the credit unions. If the banker is not ready to lose any customer, then he can tell you the ways to avoid the new fees.

2. Follow all the procedures to purchase a house: Sometimes, people are not able to purchase home at the last moment due to mortgage related problems. A slight delay in the completion of the mortgage process can ruin your deal. This is why it is essential to fill out the documents correctly and submit them to the lenders without any delay. Call your lender from time to time, and enquire about the status of your mortgage application. Stack the copies of all the papers in a file. In case, you misplace the original paper, you can use the photo copy of the original document.

3. Take out your credit card from the freezer: If you have kept your plastic card in the freezer for curbing your overspending habit, then it is time to take it out from the refrigerator. If you keep your plastic card in the freezer for a long period of time, then the credit card company will consider it as an inactive account. Keep in mind that inactive credit cards don't make a positive impact on credit score. Rather, it may drop your credit score.

Payment history is used to calculate your credit score. Inactive accounts don't contribute payment history, and this makes a negative influence on your credit score. So, keep your frozen credit card under direct sun for one day and start using it responsibly. Be financially disciplined and use the credit card for paying your utility bill or grocery bill every month. Set up automatic payment system with your bank to pay your bill within the due date. This will help you build positive payment history and credit slowly.

4. Stay calm and stick to your plans: Believe it or not, the financial market follows its own rules. The market trends change throughout the year. At one moment, you can see that the market is performing really well. At some other time, you may see that the market is going through a lull period. However, nothing stays forever. So, the market condition will change soon. Don't make snap decisions when you see a bull or bear market. Stick to your original financial plan, save funds in your retirement accounts, and make wise investments. Stay financial disciplined irrespective of the behavior of the market.

5. Refinance when you've good credit score: If you wish to refinance your existing home loan at a favorable interest rate, then pay your credit bills on time to maintain a good credit score. If your credit card issuer reports to the credit bureaus that you are regularly late on your payments, then your credit score may drop, and reduce the possibility of securing a refinanced loan. Remember, that lender will check your credit report in the midst of the mortgage process. So, find out if you need to fix any error on the credit report before refinancing your loan. Try to avoid taking any step that may affect your score in a negative way when you submit the application.

6. Watch out for the new bank fees: Banks have caught the eye of the media due to the introduction of new fees throughout the year. They have been the special focus of the financial websites and the newspapers in the year 2011. Keep a close eye on your monthly account statements to be aware of the new fees deducted from your savings by your bank. Usually, banks are required to forward you the fee disclosures prior to increasing the new fees. If you find that the bank has sent you a disclosure along with a letter, then you can be more or less certain that you'll have to pay a higher fee after a certain date.

If you don't have much idea about the fee structure, then visit the official website of the bank or ask the branch manager to give you the schedule.

7. Get your free credit report and check it once: You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year. Have a look at the copy of your credit report, and figure out if there is any misleading information on it. If the credit bureaus have made any mistake, then feel free to inform them via phone or letters or online. The credit bureaus will get in touch with your creditor and investigate the matter. You'll get the result within 45 days.

If you don't want to check your credit report once a year, then you can pull your credit report after every 3 months or so.

Taking care of your financial health can ensure a hassle free life. You can have a peaceful sleep during the nights and do constructive work in the mornings. Manage your finances effectively to stay financially healthy in the year 2012.

Last Updated on: Fri, 11 Jan 2013

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