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John McMillin: Online financial websites abound with free information

John McMillin • Aug 21, 2017 at 10:18 PM

Many of us will find ourselves in need of some financial advice at some point in our lives. With the ability to answer question online, it’s far easier to find answers now than years earlier. Still, you need to know where to look for those answers. 

Hopefully this week’s column from the United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland will provide a starting point for some of your questions.

For example, we’ve all seen the advertisements about our credit score. Annualcreditreport.com is a free website and app which will allow you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. Ensure the information on all your credit reports is correct and up to date. Remember, credit reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests or even your job application and will also help you catch signs of identity theft early. Other credit sites include creditkarma.com and freecreditscore.com

Nerdwallet.com is another free website and app. The site offers financial tools and objective advice to help people better understand their financial options and make the best possible financial decisions. In the same vein, bettermoneyhabits.com is provided by a partnership between Bank of America and Khan Academy. Better Money Habits has tapped into a different way to help people learn about money. They lay out the facts so people can decide what makes sense for their personal situation. It’s about covering topics people want to learn about, using terms and examples they can understand. It’s about connecting information to people’s goals and situations so information is easily accessible when and where people need it.

Need a budget? Mint.com is a free website and app that helps you create budgets that make sense today and set you up for success tomorrow. See bills and money together, so you know what’s due, when it’s due and what you can pay. Receive alerts for unusual account charges and get custom tips for reducing fees and saving money. Get your free credit score and learn how you can improve it now to get the things you want later.

Want a little more finance education for yourself or, perhaps, a youngster? KhanAcademy.org/economics-finance-domain is a free website and app with videos and tutorials on interest and debt, housing, inflation, taxes, accounting and financial statements, investing, banking and banking trends. Of course, you can also check out levelmoney.com, which is owned and operated by Capital One. The free personal finance and budgeting app helps you plan for essentials like rent and bills and helps to target a savings goal. The site also helps visitors with achieving a balance between spending and saving.

Bankrate.com is a free website and app that will help you find and compare rates on financial products like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, checking ATM fees, home equity loans and banking fees. In their own words, BankRate strives to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey.

John McMillin is president of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland. Email him at john@givetouwwc.org.

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