Smart credit moves for empty nesters

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Once your kids have graduated from college and have some financial independence, your financial priorities are likely to change. Here are some credit card basics to keep in mind so you can have a comfortable retirement and use your credit to your benefit.

Consider your other credit options
You may be used to swiping your credit card to finance major purchases, but did you know that you can use the equity in your home? Home equity loans and lines of credit are usually some of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to pay for major purchases. Keep in mind that most experts would caution against using your home equity for everyday expenses. Instead, it is recommended that you only use your home equity for home improvements, debt consolidation and college expenses. Compare interest rates between home equity loans and lines of credit and your credit card to see which option is the most affordable way to finance your major expenses.

Pay down your debt
If you have credit card debt from previous purchases, make a commitment to yourself and your spouse to pay it off. The sooner you get out of credit card debt, the more effectively you can save and invest for your retirement years. While you are paying off your credit card debt, make a conscious decision to stop making purchases on credit cards so you can contribute more to your retirement account and have a more comfortable old age.

Comparison shop
If you have held an account with the same credit card company for a while, it is a good idea to shop around for better rates and credit card features. Interest rates and fees are some of the ways that credit card companies make money, but they aren’t usually set in stone. If you see a deal for a credit card with a lower interest rate or less expensive fee, call your credit card company and see if they will match their competitor’s offer. If you have a balance on your credit card and you want to transfer your balance to another card with better rates, be sure there isn’t a hefty fee for the transfer.


 

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