Tools & Resources

Managing Debts & BudgetingCalculating Your Debt to Income Ratio:tools

Your total debt-to-income ratio, considering both good and bad debt, is best at 36% or lower. A ratio lower than 30% is excellent, while a ratio over 40% is a red flag for a potential financial disaster.Example: Assume you make $3,000 a month and you spend $300 on credit card payments and $450 on an auto loan. Your ratio calculation would be $750 / $3,000 = 0.25. Multiply that by 100 for a debt-income-ratio of 25%. In this example, you spend a quarter of your income on bad debt.

10 steps to making a financial budget

Mint.com

Additional Debt Management Resources online:

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson9/index5.htm

http://credit.about.com/od/reducingdebt/a/toomuchdebt.htm

Credit Score RepairTo improve your credit scores, it’s important to know where you stand now. You can get free credit reports once a year, but you typically have to pay to see your FICO scores. (You can get other credit scores for free at sites like Credit Karma, but these aren’t typically the scores lenders use.)

You can buy two of your three FICO scores for $19.95 each at myFICO. (One of the three credit bureaus, Experian, no longer sells FICO scores to consumers, although it still sells them to lenders.)

If your scores are above 760, you’re probably already getting the best rates. If they’re anywhere below that mark, though, they could stand some improvement.

9 Fast Fixes for Your Credit Scores

Saving & Retirement PlanningThough it’s never too late to start, the sooner you begin saving, the more time your money has to grow. Gains each year build on the prior year’s — that’s the power of compounding, and the best way to accumulate wealth.

Tips for Planning Your Retirement

Risk Tolerance Quiz

Types of Retirement Plans

What’s my risk to tolerance?

What is a mutual fund?

The 5 Biggest Money Myths— Busted!

Buying & Investing in Real Estate

Real Estate vs. the Stock Market

A benefit of real estate investment is the income you make from the property can help improve your income and standard of living now. Income from 401ks and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) cannot be touched until you are 59½ years old. Why should I have to wait 25 years to appreciate some benefit from my investment? With a rental investment property, there is income available now and income available in the future.

The Best Part About Owning A Home: Tax Deductions The best part about owning your own home, however, is the myriad of home ownership tax deductions. These home tax deductions are simply not available to renters, and they are designed by the government to encourage home ownership.

Are you ready to buy a house?

If you can’t put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan. There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment.

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