Keep these five financial tips in mind to work with (Credit Corner)
(Editor’s note: Keith Wills is a loan officer with MidAtlantic Farm Credit.)
In today’s unprecedented environment, you may find yourself becoming more self-aware of your individual and/or family finances.
As a loan officer, and someone who works with individuals like you on a daily basis, I want to share five quick tips to help you navigate your personal finance journey during this challenging time.
Whether you’re a young adult just getting started or managing a family budget, these tips will help you as you assess your finances and plan for whatever the future may bring.
• Reach Out to Your Creditors: If you’re experiencing financial stress, reach out to your creditors sooner rather than later. Keeping the lines of communication open is very important to both you and your financial institution. Start by reviewing any problems, so your creditors can help to provide potential relief and solutions they can offer.
• Create a Budget: If you do not already have a personal budget, think about creating one. Knowing where your money is spent may help you to provide insight on where and what expenditures might be trimmed or eliminated, if your budget needs adjusted.
• Review Your Credit Report: There are several services online that provide free credit reports. As a best management practice, plan to check your credit report annually. Make sure you know what is on your report and keep on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
• Check-in with Your Credit Card Companies: Pick up the phone and give them a call to ask about potential interest rate reductions. Often, that’s all it takes to lower your interest rate and save money, which can greatly influence your expenses.
• Remember to Practice Self-Care: Keeping yourself healthy during this stressful period of time is important. Remember to take time for yourself to recharge. You cannot operate at your best if you are not healthy. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed out, we encourage you to use our free Member Assistance Program to explore the counseling offerings.
Visit mafc.com/update for more details about the program.
Similar to these five financial tips, I encourage you to also be aware of the five “Cs of Credit.”
These are characteristics that all lenders look for in borrowers: Capacity (how are you going to pay us back?), Collateral (what are you or someone else willing to give us?), Capital (what do you bring to the table?), Character (credit score found in your credit report), and Conditions (will vary for each loan).
I hope these quick tips help assist you with planning for the future, and help you navigate some of the uncertainty we’re all experiencing right now.
At Farm Credit, we support rural communities and agriculture by providing reliable, consistent credit and financial services.
Visit us at mafc.com for more information, or call us at 888-339-3334 to speak with a loan officer.