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What Your Credit Card Says About You

What Your Credit Card Says About You

Getting a credit card seems like a simple enough idea. You get a credit card, spend money on it, and eventually pay back the money you spent on credit. Maybe you’ll rack up some rewards while you’re at it. However, you may be surprised by what your credit card says about you. Here are some credit card user archetypes and the cards that suit them best.

The Traveler

Capital One credit card

    It’s easy to spot a traveler via their credit card. They very likely have a credit card that offers miles on purchases that they can use to fly anywhere. In many cases, they are businessmen and women who are looking to rack up some miles while flying on business so they can one day go traveling on their own. For those who don’t travel frequently, it shows a longing to untie from the stresses of every day life and go somewhere nice.
    Example: Capital One VentureOne

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    The Big Spender

    These are people who love to impulse buy. They see something on sale or a new gadget come out and they must have it immediately and onto the credit card it goes. People who love to impulse buy often buy expensive things. Therefore their credit cards are usually the kind that offer some sort of cash back. The more they spend, the more cash back they get.
    Example: Chase Freedom

    The Ones Who Live For Tomorrow

    Most credit cards set you up so you can earn points and spend points almost immediately. There are those out there who don’t want or need the rewards so they get a card that allows them to invest in the future. An example is the 529 Program where all cash back rewards or miles are grouped into a college tuition account that grows tax-free. If you see someone with a card like that, you know they’re thinking of the future.
    Example: FutureTrust Mastercard

    The Beginner

    Getting a credit card for the first time can be daunting. Most younger people who have no credit can’t get these epic credit cards that more experienced people can apply for. Usually they end up with a prepaid credit card. These are the ones where you give a bank $500–$1000 and they issue you a credit card for that amount. You treat it like a regular credit card but if something happens, the bank can close the account without sending the poor card holder into debt. If you spot someone with one of these cards, they’re likely building up some credit.
    Example: Ask your local bank for details on credit cards like this.

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    The Debt Manager

    Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you’re trying to spend money. Sometimes it means you’re trying to pay back money. The debt manager has a credit card but never uses it because they got that card to transfer the balances of other debts onto their credit card. They’re paying it off and being responsible (hopefully) and their strategy allows them some flexibility.
    Example: There aren’t really any credit cards specifically for balance transfers but you can find credit cards with lucrative features for transferring balances.

    The Homemaker

    There are credit cards out there with rewards for purchases specific to the house and home. Groceries, home improvement items, etc. are included, so whenever you buy food or improve your home, you get rewards. If you see someone who’s always buying things for their home and who seems to enjoy it a little too much, then you’ve liked run into someone with a card that rewards them for it.
    Example: The Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard offers double points on things like groceries.

    Mr and Mrs Attention To Detail

    Some credit cards offer a range of features that are great for people who like to go over life with a fine-tooth comb. They like to check their credit scores often, get rewards on a variety of purchases, and want to make sure they have customer service whenever and wherever they may need it. When it comes to their finances, they know where every penny is all the time.
    Example: Discover It card.

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    The Socialite

    Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

      Some people just love hanging out with other people. They like to dress up and go out, talk to real people, and often resist autonomous behavior. These kind of people usually have a credit card for any occasion. It looks neat, has customer service that puts them in direct contact with a real person, and the rewards change up so it always feels new.
      Example: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

      A Most Simple Person

      There are those out there who just don’t want all the bric-a-brac that comes with today’s modern credit cards. The rewards, miles, weird deals, and such are just too complicated to keep track of and they don’t want to go through the hassle. They have a simple credit card. No features, no miles, no rewards, and there are certainly no weird specials to keep track of. They spend money, they pay it back, and they get on with their lives.
      Example: Citi Simplicity Card

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      Featured photo credit: Screen Junkies via cdn2.screenjunkies.com

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      Last Updated on January 2, 2019

      How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

      How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

      Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

      Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

      Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

      This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

      Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

      What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

      Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

      When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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      How It Leads to Financial Improvement

      It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

      Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

      Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

      It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

      Types of Personal Finance Software

      When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

      Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

      For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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      Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

      When to Use Personal Finance Software

      So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

      Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

      1. You Have Multiple Accounts

      There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

      If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

      Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

      2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

      Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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      There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

      With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

      3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

      Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

      Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

      Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

      4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

      Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

      You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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      How to Get Started

      From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

      Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

      It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

      When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

      Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

      Final Thoughts

      Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

      In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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