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4 Things to do Before Making Any Financial Decisions


By Marietta Jelks, editor of the Consumer Action Handbook

Making financial decisions can be confusing and overwhelming, to the point that you do nothing to prepare for your financial future. Don’t fall victim to that feeling; take these steps to protect your hard-earned money and give you financial peace of mind:

Set a goal. Just as if you were shopping for a car, know what features you want to have in your credit card, investment, budgeting spreadsheet or any other financial resource. Establish how you want to use this particular resource and keep that goal in mind.

Shop around. Collect information about the options you are considering. Read and compare the overviews of different types of accounts, ask trusted friends and family about their choices and interview several financial planners to determine if they fit your needs.

Read contracts, account policies and disclosures. It’s tempting to sign contracts without reading them or all the fine print in account disclosures. Don’t give in to that temptation; many important details about your rights, minimum balance requirements, and fees are included in these documents.

Beware of scams. Unfortunately, some shady companies or professionals have the gift of gab that will make a disastrous investment sound like a golden opportunity.

We also developed a free packet of valuable publications to empower you while making financial decisions. Order the Financial Foundations toolkit for you and your family to get the advice and confidence you need.

Also, stay tuned to our blog throughout Financial Literacy Month. We’ll be offering many practical tips in the areas of credit, money management, investments, and retirement.

We want to extend a huge thanks to our partners for Financial Literacy Month:

  • Department of Labor

  • FINRA Foundation

  • America’s Health Insurance Plans

  • Federal Trade Commission

  • Social Security Administration

  • America Saves

  • IRS

  • FDIC

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  • Securities and Exchange Commission

  • USDA Extension

Read this note in Spanish.