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Four Personal Finance Fireworks to Avoid this Summer

GreenPath says to stay away from debt-hiding smoke bombs, bad-habit sparklers, balance-jumping bottle rockets and fast-spending firecrackers

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – June 27, 2014)  GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nationwide, non-profit credit counseling and education organization, has listed some potentially dangerous personal finance fireworks that you might experience this summer.

Bad-habit sparklers – Growing up, we were warned to hold a sparkler at arm’s length, maybe twirl it around a bit, and it went out shortly thereafter. “The same can be said of our personal finance habits that started out so strong at the beginning of the year,” said David Flores, GreenPath Financial Wellness counselor.

“You may have kicked off 2014 with a solid budget and plan, but, by the beginning of summer, new habits may be fading.”

Flores stressed that it’s important to revisit those initial feelings of taking control of your personal finances and re-dedicate yourself to good, solid spending and savings habits during the rest of 2014.  An example is to start saving $10 a week now towards holiday gifts, which will lessen the impact on your budget towards the end of the year (nearly $250 come mid-December).

Debt-hiding smoke bombs – Colorful smoke bombs can make an impact, but a personal finance smoke bomb between individuals can hide problems. “Many times, people feel that if they can create a diversion, they can push off painful conversations about spending habits and debt. But, once the air clears, the problem is still there.” Flores says a good start in communicating is building a personal budget together.

Fast-spending firecrackers - Some people light a long string of fireworks, one at a time, savoring each moment. Others set off the entire string at once to watch it explode into a continuous series of loud pops and bangs.  Your monthly income is similar: Spend only what you need, pay your bills, and conserve your money to last the entire month, or spend your paycheck in a short period of time, with very little remaining for the rest of the month.  “Keeping credit card balances paid off, while staying current on your bills and building an emergency cash fund is the best option,” said Flores.

Balance-jumping bottle rockets – Light these fireworks and they whoosh out of sight. Some people think that the best way to keep their debt out of sight is to jump the balance from one credit card to another. “You aren’t really solving your problem when you continually move your balance from one card to another card,” said Flores. “While you may have good feelings at first that you are paying a lower, or even zero interest rate, that feeling could be short lived. When that introductory rate ends, you might be in even more debt than if you tackled the debt in the first place.

“This summer, work on being disciplined with spending and saving and you’ll have more fun in the long run,” Flores concluded.

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GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 50 branch offices in Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Wyoming. GreenPath also delivers licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). For more information, visit www.greenpath.org.