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Saving Money: Are Credit Cards Good, Bad or Just Plain Ugly?

Credit Cards
Written by Super User · 08 August 2012

Saving Money:  Are Credit Cards Good, Bad or Just Plain Ugly?

August 8, 2012
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator

I have counseled servicemembers who had lots of debt and I have counseled very young servicemembers who had no debt at all, and they both faced the same problem -- very low credit scores.  How could this be, you might ask?  How can someone who has no credit cards and no car payments still have trouble getting a loan or applying for a store card?  Well, you can think of credit scores as your “reputation” with the credit bureaus and the Fair Isaac Corporation (the company behind FICO scores):  a good credit history, showing on time payments and a low debt to available credit ratio,goes a long way toward building a positive credit “character.”  But the sad reality is if you are very young, just starting out, and have no credit cards and have never had a car note or other type of loan, you can look just as risky to a potential creditor as someone with lots of debt.   And the same goes for someone who has paid off their debts and has closed all their credit card accounts.  Suddenly they may find that they have an incredibly low credit score.   When they go to apply for an auto loan, they may find themselves being offered rates in the 20+% range, or they may even be turned down.

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Delaying Gratification

Savings Tips
Written by Super User · 02 August 2012

August 2, 2012
By Lila Quintliani, AFC®
Assistant Coordinator, Military Saves

I heard a statistic I found really shocking the other day:  according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 50% of 60 year olds have less than $37,300 in their retirement accounts.  As you might guess, that’s not nearly enough to live off of in retirement. In fact, according to the Boston College analysis, Americans are a collective $6.6 TRILLION dollars short of the amount they need to retire.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on working to age 75.  Nor am I counting on Social Security (or any type of pension) to make up the entire shortfall.  The only solution I see is to save now for later.  My husband and I are consciously not living to the full extent of our paychecks now.   We are delaying gratification for the sake of a nebulous future that we are only starting to be able to visualize.  And I’m here to tell you, sometimes delaying gratification really stinks.  So sometimes we *do* “live in the present” – we go on vacations, or buy gadgets, or go to a Broadway play.  But always, always, we are socking away a part of our pay.

I realize it’s tough to save in today’s economy.  It’s also tough to save when you’re starting out, and not making much.  But if you make it a habit, and commit to saving even a small percentage of your salary, then you’ve made a start.  You can always bump up the percentage later on.

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | March 7, 2014

    Make sure your financial advisor’s title is accredited, and that he/she is qualified through a training program that holds its members to strict ethical standards.

Saver Stories View all »

How Smart Financial Decisions Can Create Opportunities 

Written by | November 22, 2019

Written by Stephen Ross, America Saves Program Coordinator | November 22, 2019

Of the many stories Military Saves shares, most describe how someone was in dire straits financially and worked their way out of it with the help of Military Saves. This time we want to highlight a different kind of story. This is a story about how responsible financial decisions can build on one another to create opportunities you thought only the super-rich enjoy.

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Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Written by Super User | May 24, 2019

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”

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When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.

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