CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 04/02/13 -- With the challenging economic conditions of the recent years, there is no better time than now for consumers to brush up on their personal finance ABC's, evaluate their own financial situation and identify areas that need improvement. Unfortunately, not all Americans are taking the time to assess their financial health. April is Financial Literacy Month and TransUnion takes this opportunity to remind consumers to continually review their credit information and personal finances and provides some basic personal finance tips to help get them on the path to financial health.
A recent Q4 2012 Zogby Analytics survey commissioned by TransUnion found that a third (33.9 percent) of all Americans surveyed said they had not checked their credit in the last year (21.7 percent) or never checked their credit (11.2 percent). An additional 10 percent did not know when they last checked their credit
"It's easy for people to become frustrated and confused with all the financial information coming at them," said Heather Battison, vice president at TransUnion responsible for consumer education. "But instead of becoming overwhelmed by a general lack of financial awareness, consumers need to start with the basics of personal finances and understand their own current financial situation so they can identify areas to work on."
•Give Yourself a Credit Checkup Regularly: Check your credit often using a credit monitoring product to help you recognize which bad financial habits, such as late payments, are impacting your credit score. Regular check-ups may also help you guard against identity theft. It is also important to know what your credit score is -- and the reasons behind it. The higher your score, the better interest rate you are likely to receive.
•Start a budget: To most, budgeting is not a pleasant task. But without one, it's almost impossible to know with any certainty how much money you really have and how much of it you need to spend to cover your expenses. With careful budgeting, you may even be able to save more money that you can spend on something about which you truly care. TransUnion Plus not only helps you to stay on top of your credit, but it makes budgeting much more manageable by aggregating all your personal finance accounts, like checking and savings and 401k accounts, as well as credit cards and other loans.
•Plan for Retirement: If you don't already have a retirement plan, 401k or IRA account, consider setting one up sooner rather than later. Waiting to start contributing into a retirement plan can have a major impact on your retirement. For example, suppose you have a current salary of $30,000, receive (4) four percent annual raises, and plan to retire in 30 years. You put (4) four percent of your salary into a retirement plan each year and earn an (8) eight percent annual return. If you started investing in a plan today, you would have $220,944 when you retired. If you waited 5 years before investing, you would have only $164,878 at retirement (assuming the same retirement date, salary, raises, savings rate and return). In this case, waiting five years to begin investing in a retirement plan cost you $56,066.
•Pay Your Bills: Sounds simple, right? Did you know that billions and billions of dollars are spent on late fees every year in America? Many times late payments can also affect your credit score. Save money on late fees and keep your credit in good health by enrolling in auto-pay programs.
Zogby Analytics conducted an online survey of 1,000 US adults for TransUnion Interactive.
Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for 1000 is +/- 3.2 percentage points and for 600 is +/- 4.1 percentage points. This means that all other things being equal, the identical survey repeated will have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.
TransUnion Interactive, Inc. is a consumer subsidiary of TransUnion. As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 33 countries on five continents. www.transunion.com. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransUnion.
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