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Credit and financial planning

Shrewd use of credit is a great way to help plan a secure financial future for you and your family. But before committing to the specifics of a plan, you'll need to understand your goals and determine the sacrifices you're willing to endure.

How important is that new car every other year? Do you want your children to attend an expensive private university or a less expensive public institution? Are your spending habits leaving enough for savings to meet your retirement needs?

The first step in smart financial planning is establishing a budget. To some people, the word "budget" is a dirty one. Try to think of it as a way to help you live within your means now, as you set aside money for the future. Once you create your budget, be sure to clear away any unnecessary debt and invest as much money as makes sense.

With this accomplished, you can begin thinking about the powerful role credit may play. It can enable you to buy property that increases in value. It can purchase tools, such as a computer or additional education, that can expand your earning power. And if you're thinking about starting your own business, it can be something you can sell in retirement or pass down to the kids. Credit and business loans can be a big help in getting started. No matter how you use credit, always be careful not to get overextended. To get started, view our article on budgeting.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial, or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
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