Developing Money Management Skills – The Bay State Banner

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My name is Phil Mustone and I am Head of the Financial Education Program at Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB).

Philippe Moustone

I’ve been in the banking industry for about 20 years and what I love most about my job is helping people achieve their financial goals. For me, it started in my first role as a cashier and continued into my current role.

I feel fortunate to be part of CSB where we place such a focus and commitment to improving the financial well-being of people in the communities we serve. For the past 11 years, we’ve actually had a team dedicated to providing financial education in our communities. I’m proud to say that we’ve provided financial education to over 32,000 participants — so far!

What does it mean to pay something on credit?
Credit is a super important financial tool. When you buy something “on credit”, you receive an item iimmediately but pay it at a later date. Using credit can open up opportunities for you to make a major purchase like a house and pay it off gradually over time. It is important to keep in mind that you will usually have to repay the original amount borrowed with interest. When deciding whether or not to offer you credit, a lender may look at your credit score. Your credit score is based on factors such as your current debt and your repayment history. Building your credit is important to show lenders that you are reliable and can repay a borrowed amount. Check out this article to learn more about credit and ways to build or improve your credit score.

What are some strategies to help me stay on top of my debt repayments?
This is a great and very common question! Avoid late payments by setting automatic minimum payments through your bank and creating reminders to help you remember due dates. You can even check with your loan provider to see if they offer email or text reminders. It’s also important to create a budget so you can prioritize your spending and track your debt payments each month. You can start with this budget calculator. If you find yourself behind on a payment, there are strategies to get you back on track. Check out this article for tips and strategies that might help you better manage your debt.

What are the easy ways to build my credit?
When it comes to building or bTo deplete your credit, there are a few things to keep in mind. Make your payments on time and in full whenever you can, as late or missed payments can lower your credit score. It is also important to know how much you are borrowing. Review your credit report and make sure you understand what factors can affect your credit score. You can check your credit report for free once a year by visiting annualcreditreport.com or if you are a CSB customer, you can access your credit score and report it instantly in Online Banking. You will also see personalized tips on how to increase your score or maintain a good score. Learn more about our credit score tool and how to review your credit report or explore this coaching tool for personalized tips and strategies that might be right for you.

IAre all debts bad?
This is a very important question! If managed well, not all debt is bad. Some types are better than others because they can increase your net worth or help you reach your financial goals. This “good debt” is often inexpensive and can help you build wealth over time. Common examples of “good debt” are mortgages or student loans. Bad debts, on the other hand, tend to cost more and lose value over time. It’s good to keep in mind that any debt can become a “bad debt” if you can’t afford it anymore! Explore this article for debt management tips and strategies.

What to look out for in a “high rate” environment?
Big question! In a context of rising interest rates, the cost of borrowing increases. Payments on fixed rate loans will remain the same, but payments on variable rate credits are expected to increase. Watch for rising interest rates and adjust your monthly budget as needed to ensure you stay on top of your debt payments. If you have savings, you can also expect a higher return as interest increases. Explore this personalized coaching tool for more information or contact us at CSB to learn more about the impact of rising rates on your financial plan.

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