Financial Literacy Month| April 2020

“Read the terms and conditions… then read them again!” – Coach D

Discussing finances, budgeting, saving strategies, wealth building, business growth, and economics is one of my passions.

Here’s my “street cred”:

  • BSBA in Finance
  • MBA in Finance
  • Over a decade working in Finance 
  • YouTube Budget Planner
  • On the brink of paying off over $40K in consumer debt (less than a 1.5 years journey, #winning)
  • Small Business Growth Strategist

I’ve observed that many families struggle with personal financial management.  It is my goal to use my experience and personal journey to help families practice financial stewardship and better understand money management principles.

In today’s post, I’d like to emphasize the importance of reading the terms and conditions of financial agreements and payment arrangements.

Read the terms and conditions, then read them again.  Do you remember the old saying, “everything that glitters ain’t gold?”.  It’s true! I have been guilty, in the past, of signing up for special promotional credit cards only to get hit with massive interest charges because I failed to pay it off in the allocated amount of time. 

Tip: Understand the repayment window and pay in full prior to the due date.

Currently, there are several financial relief efforts to assist individuals impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I can truly appreciate the efforts being made to assist those facing hardships. However, my encouragement to the community is to read before you sign on the dotted line.

Remember that just because the service provider has suspended collection, it does not mean that the bill is forgiven.  Expect to pay for services rendered at a future date.

Here is an example: We have to pay our state for taxes. Notices went out that the due date has been extended.  The fine print, however, indicates that interest will be collected on all payments made after the original due date.

Another example includes, “free for 60 days” type of promotions.  If you sign up for these opportunities, note the end date of the trial period.

Tip: If you have no intention of continuing with the service, set an alarm to cancel in your phone prior to the end of the trial.

It is encouraged to pay what you can on bills as opposed to not paying at all.  Even if interest will not accrue, make cuts to your discretionary spend so you can remit payment on your bills.

When you are reading the terms and conditions, DON’T skip over the cancellation policy.  For example, when we purchased our security system the term was for 5 years. The cancellation stated that if we cancelled services we would have to pay for all equipment, over $2,000, and pay off the remaining months bills. We considered switching security providers but after assessing the cancellation fees we decided to finish the contact.

Tip: If something is unclear within the terms and conditions, I encourage you to call customer service and have someone explain the details to you.  Document who you spoke to in the event you need to reference the conversation later

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