Money Matters: Fiscal resolutions for the New Year, Part 3
As this three-part spotlight on financial new year's resolutions comes to a close, experts say when it comes to cleaning up credit or estate planning, where there's a will, there's a way. Shazia Khan filed the following report.
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Ready for a money makeover in 2013? It all starts with a commitment, and experts say one goal for the new year could be cleaning up one's credit.
"You need a clean report if you are applying for a loan, such as a student loan, credit cards, mortgage, or for many people, perspective employers will be checking your credit report before they offer you a job," says Karen O'Connell, an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.
This year, resolve to order free credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
"Stagger them. So in January, you can order from Experian and then four months later from Equifax and four months later from TransUnion. That way, you can regularly keep track of what's being reported," says O'Connell.
Now, while one may not to think of death at the start of a new year, it is a part of life. One can make sure to be in control of one's assets, even after life ends, by resolving to write a will.
"If you don't go and make a will yourself, the government decides where your property passes when you're gone and a lot of times it's not exactly who you would have chosen," says Laura Twomey, an estate planning attorney. "Another thing to keep in mind is when you have minor children, you can use the will to appoint the guardian for those children in just the unlikely event that you and your spouse pass away while those children are minors."
This is the year to become a more savvy shopper, and before buying, one needs to ask oneself, "Do I really need it?"
"Oftentimes what I find is that if you sit back and weigh, 'Do I really want it?' over the long haul of days or a matter of weeks, you find out, you know what? I don't really want it as much as I though I did," says Tod Marks of Consumer Reports.
Finally, before making a purchase, be be sure to comparison shop for the best possible price.