Women

Porter mentioned another measure she and her husband have taken. Because both work in relatively fragile businesses- Porter, 42, sells hand-sewn crafts, and Hannon, 48, works for a newspaper- the couple have prioritized saving for a rainy day. Their emergency account holds about a year’s worth of living expenses.

Among our survey respondents only 29 percent had an emergency fund that could cover three to six months of expenses

Among our survey respondents only 29 percent had an emergency fund that could cover three to six months of expenses

But most Americans don’t have even half that much. Among our survey respondents only 29 percent had an emergency fund that could cover three to six months of expenses. In a period of prolonged unemployment, that cushion could be a lifesaver.

Saving a bit at a time- say, $20 a week can help build your cash buffer. That money should go into an accessible bank or credit-union savings account.

6.    Ignoring your credit report

Consumers can obtain a credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and Trans-Union-free through the industry’s official website, at annualcreditreport.com. To most efficiently monitor your credit, we recommend staggering your report requests to one every four months. But our survey showed that more than four out of fice people -81 percent- don’t bother checking their credit reports.

Given that identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the country, we think that’s a mistake. Consider what we heard from a North Carolina doctor who discovered that her office manager had embezzled at least $500,000 from her practice by using, among other ruses, credit cards taken out in the practice’s name. The doctored and her husband later realized that they could have stopped the fraud if only they had checked their free credit reports. But because they hadn’t needed to borrow in years, they never bothered.

7.    Mismanaging debt.

Credit cards generate among the most expensive type of consumer debt; the average interest rate is about 14:3 percent, according to LowCards.com, a credit-card comparison website. In spite of those lofty costs, almost half of our survey respondents with credit cards said they carry a balance on their cards. Eight percent reported at least one late payment in the past 12 months. Almost one fifth- 18 percent – said they’d accrued a balance of $10,000 or more.

Focus on retiring your debt by paying more than the minimum due each month

Focus on retiring your debt by paying more than the minimum due each month

To begin to free yourself from that balance, consider consolidating your debt with a home-equity line of credit; rates on HELOCs average between 4 and 5 percent, according to Bankrate.com. if you don’t own a home or lack sufficient equity or income to qualify for a HELOC, consider transferring your balance to a lower-cost card. Many cards offer 0 percent financing on balance transfers for 12 to 18 months, after which the rate will jump to between 12 and 22 percent. You also might have to pay a fee of 3 or 4 percent of the balance up front.

Focus on retiring your debt by paying more than the minimum due each month. To that end, put the entire amount you’ll need each month to pay down your credit cards into a separate bank account so that you’re not tempted to use it for something else. You can even arrange for the sum to be direct-deposited from your paycheck.

J. Henry, 80, a retired health-care executive from Jacksonville, Fla., says he began employing his form of debt management 23 years ago. Burned by a bad business deal and sitting on $50,000 in credit-card debt, Henry began tracking his family’s spending to bring their finances back from the brink. Within about four years he had eliminated the cred his net worth to be credit-card debt- and he hasn’t kept a balance since. Today, he estimates his net worth to be “north of $1 million.”

Just 35 percent of our survey respondents say they have a budget, but maybe more ought to. “When I look back, it helped me keep an eye on where I was financially,” Henry says. “If you just stick to basics and common sense, you can be OK.”

Even personal-finance gurus make mistakes

David Bach

David Bach

Author of “Debt Free for Life” and founder of FinishRich Media

I picked up three credit cards and a charge card for a stereo store while in college. I used them foolishly for things I wanted but didn’t really need, figuring I could make the minimum payments. By the time I graduated in 1990, I owed over $12,000. I remember still the head-spinning feeling of opening those bills. It took me two years to pay it all off, and I’ve never carried credit-card debt since.

Jane Bryant Quinn

Jane Bryant Quinn

Personal-finance columnist and author

In the 1980s, a neighbor told my husband and me that he was investing in a new jeans company. I loved the jeans. We talked with his partner, looked at his business plan, and invested $25,000. Well, the partner had misrepresented himself, and our neighbor didn’t share some key information. The investors lost everything.  We didn’t do our due diligence; we just trusted what we were told.

John Bogle

John Bogle

Founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group

When I started working I did what everybody else did backing the 1950: I got a broker. That was biggest mistake I ever made. I got nowhere. The broker would say, buy this and sell that. Most of the returns were indifferent. It was complicated to report on my tax returns. More than half the time when he told me to sell, I should have bought. I haven’t invested in individual stocks since the 1950s.

Clark Howard

Clark Howard

TV and radio consumer finance expert.

In 1985 I went into a partnership that bought into an apartment complex in Miami. Under the tax laws then, you went into such deals assuming that you’d lose money. You got roughly $2 in tax benefit for every $1 you lost. In 1986 the tax laws changed. The deal went bust and I got hit with massive tax bill known as recapture. I learned not to make investments just for tax reasons.

 

Top search
Women
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
Women
- 15 Dishes Extremely Nutritious For Pregnant Women
- 14 Things That Make Pregnant Women Nervous (Part 2)
- 14 Things That Make Pregnant Women Nervous (Part 1)
- 24 Things To Do Before Giving Birth
- Why You Should Add Cauliflower In Meals
- Marathon Special (Part 4)
- Marathon Special (Part 3)
- Marathon Special (Part 2)
- Marathon Special (Part 1)
- 8 Ways To Defeat Stress After Delivery
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain