In our courses Richer Retirement and MPowered Couple, we work to consolidate the information you need to know into one place. However, there are some extremely reliable resources that you should use regularly to help keep you on the path toward a stronger financial future.
How To Check Your Credit Report Every Year: Annual Credit Report Check
Federal law guarantees your right to access your credit reports at least once a year. There are a number of websites that purport to provide free credit reports, but don’t be fooled—the only one that is actually free is annualcreditreport.com.
Use this website to access your reports from each of the three credit bureaus.
Why is running your credit report important?
It’s to verify that your financial profile, used by insurance and financing companies, is accurate.
Inaccuracies or evidence of identity theft on your credit report can cost you time and money each time you change insurance policies or take out a loan. Looking at your reports each year is a must and this is how you review credit reports without spending any money.
How To Find A Legitimate Financial Broker: BrokerCheck & Investment Advisor Public Disclosure
When investing, it is important to know who it is you are working with and ensure that they are registered to sell you the investments they are soliciting.
It’s easy to get hung up on the name of their company and/or their title, but what really matters is their registration status. If they are registered, there are more options for recourse if they sell you something that is not in your best interest. It also means someone is likely supervising their activities, which is a safeguard for ensuring your funds are being invested appropriately.
The first places to turn to in order to check registration status are the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure system and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck.
To be adequately registered they should populate in at least one of these registration databases.
Where To Check Securities Regulations: NASAA
Pronounced like NASA, the North American Securities Administration Association is a central group that represents state securities (i.e. investments) regulation.
In the United States, each state has the authority to regulate the sale of securities within their jurisdiction (offer or sale of securities by someone in their state and/or to someone in their state). Every state has different programs and resources.
Because it’s hard for MPower Co to list out every securities regulator in each of the 50 states and territories, we appreciate that NASAA has done that for us! On their Contact Your Regulator page you can easily find the resources in your state, which should include being able to confirm if the investment professional and/or the investment itself is registered.
How To Manage Debt: Consumer Credit Counseling
Life happens. Medical bills pile up, the use of credit cards gets out of hand, and income doesn’t increase to cover these things.
If you feel like the amount of debt you have is so burdensome or so large that you believe bankruptcy is your only way out, we recommend that you first turn to Consumer Credit Counseling.
This non-profit organization is the leading resource in the industry of debt management. They will treat you with respect and understanding and if there is a way to avoid bankruptcy, they will help you find it.
What To Review Before Any Big Purchase: Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization that does testing on a wide variety of consumer goods from appliances to vacuums. The key is that they have strict policies between their business organization and testing in order to provide unbiased information.
Consumer Reports is an important, independent resource when you are in the market for big-ticket items, helping you be sure that what you are purchasing is a quality item and worth the investment.
Be careful though—sometimes they feature testing on a category of products and all of a sudden you feel you need a new one even though you didn’t need one before you read that article. Be smart when using this resource so you aren’t buying things you don’t really need.