By Michelle Kuschel
Do’s and Don’ts To Stay Smart About Your Finances
A challenging economy brings about plenty of uncertainties, but you may be better able to weather a storm if you have certain financial safeguards in place. Here are some suggestions that may help you maintain a solid financial footing.
- Do pay off debt. As challenging as it may be, make debt reduction one of your top priorities — particularly credit card balances with high-interest rates.
- Do consider refinancing your home. While mortgage interest rates are still low, you may want to lock into a fixed rate loan.
- Do look for ways to scale back. Consider moving to a smaller, more affordable home or apartment. At the same time, sell possessions that you no longer use — such as an exercise bike or collections of items that no longer interest you — and save the money.
- Do try to live on one salary. If you and your partner are both employed, strive to live on one income and put some or all of the rest in savings. Be sure some of that money is deposited into accounts that are accessible for emergencies.
- Do negotiate. Ask for lower rates on credit cards and for discounts on merchandise. If there are sign-up fees for a particular service, see if that fee can be waived. In lean times, some retailers will agree, just to keep you as a customer.
- Do pay cash for purchases. Spend only what you have in hand right now; put off purchases that require you to add to a credit card balance.
- Do enrich your salary potential. Learn new skills, take on some different responsibilities at work or even start a small part-time business. In a downturn, the expertise you bring to a position may help make you invaluable to your company — or give you options should you be downsized.
- Don’t raid your retirement account. You’ll typically pay a 10% federal income-tax penalty for removing the funds early, and you’ll shortchange your future.
- Don’t let insurance lapse. Keep your home, disability, life, and car insurance coverage current. If something happens to you during a down time, you’ll need that protection.
- Don’t co-sign a loan. It’s risky unless you’re sure you can shoulder the entire burden yourself. Even if the co-signer is trustworthy, there’s no guarantee he or she won’t default.
- Don’t take on additional debt. Thoroughly evaluate any outlay that results in debt. A student loan for your child may be a reasonable debt — but a big credit card expense is not.
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Meet Michelle Kuschel, State Farm Agency Owner:
As a lifetime resident of Saint Clair County, Michelle has been the proud owner of a local State Farm Insurance Agency for nearly 10 years. It has been her privilege to serve such amazing customers and their families; Michelle and her team look forward to many more years of dedicated service to the community.
State Farm is committed to helping local members of our community achieve their financial and insurance goals. Not only does State Farm offer Auto, Home, and Life protection. We also offer a robust platform that can assist our local business owners with their commercial insurance, home buyers with their mortgage financing, as well as vehicle owners with their new and existing car loan. Michelle and her team are dedicated to not only educating their clients but also finding innovative and personalized solutions to fit their customer’s everyday needs.
Outside of the office, Michelle feels blessed to enjoy time with her husband, Steve, as well as two amazing children. Some of her additional interests include golfing, baking, home décor, and gardening.
Michelle and her team of dedicated professionals look forward to connecting with you! NMLS #1569361