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3 Things You Need to Know about Credit

Apprisen Financial Advocates suggests you use credit wisely to keep bad debt at bay

Columbus, Ohio - April 1, 2011 - Apprisen Financial Advocates - In January Apprisen suggested consumers make "2011– the year to get and stay on track with their money," a resolution that will have lifelong benefits. Seven key habits that make up good personal financial money management were identified. This month Apprisen focuses on one of those habits, "use credit wisely." Apprisen is a national nonprofit consumer Financial Services agency that provides personal Financial Services and financial education.

Credit is part of most people's lives. It helps us purchase items and pay for them over time. Credit can be a valuable tool in building wealth. "Unfortunately, credit can be misused and overused which can undermine your finances. It is important to understand all terms of a credit transaction before signing on the dotted line," says Michael S. Kappas, President and CEO, Apprisen Financial Advocates. "Credit also has the power to increase your standard of living in ways that are appropriate to your income and lifestyle. However, a good goal is to stay as debt free as possible." CCCS suggests 3 things you need to know to use credit wisely:

Credit is using future income

It is important to understand that every time you use credit, you are reducing your future monthly income by the amount of your monthly credit payment. Make sure the new payment is affordable. Excessive credit use can create potential problems down the road. Make sure any new credit obligations fit comfortably in your budget before you commit to it. Debt is the largest obstacle in creating wealth. Avoid impulse buying and plan ahead so you can save for as many purchases as possible.

The terms of the credit transaction impact your wallet

Every credit transaction (credit card, installment loan, mortgage loan) has terms and conditions. Know the payment amount, interest rate and if there are any prepayment penalties and delinquency charges. When making a credit purchase, understand that finance charges increase the purchase price of the item. Add up all the costs associated with the purchase to determine if using credit is a wise choice. Make sure you know all the fees associated with a credit card before you apply. Read the fine print, not everything is disclosed in those fancy marketing brochures. Remember, shop for a car loan just as carefully as you shop for a car.

Credit can help you build wealth

Most people don't realize that credit can also help build wealth. It can help when the purchase is an asset, like a home, that will increase in value over time. Borrowing for a college education can be a good investment. Using credit this way can help build net worth that will help you later in life.

As part of April's Financial Literacy Month, Apprisen is asking consumers who want to reduce their debt to take the "Debt Free Pledge." Information about the Pledge and tips on how to become debt free can be found on the education page of the agency's website, www.apprisen.com.

About Apprisen
Apprisen Financial Advocates, a national nonprofit Financial Services agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt since 1955. Certified counselors provide money management, debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling and financial education. Services are provided in- person in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit Financial Services agency in the country, Apprisen Financial Advocates is known in its local communities as Consumer Financial Services Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), Apprisen is a member of the National Foundation for Financial Services (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, www.apprisen.com. You can also follow CCCS/Apprisen on Facebook and on Twitter.

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