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Celebrate your financial freedom -- Whether you dug out of debt, resisted the temptation of credit cards or pay your balance every month, you are free from debt. Here are some ways to remain strong.

Topics: Know your credit cards, Understand credit reports, Protect your identity

N O  D E B T

Credit card knowledge is financial power
Do's and don'ts for establishing credit -- Here's how to build a good credit history.

Key credit card questions -- Get answers to these questions before you sign up for a credit card.

Understanding secured cards -- If you have never had credit or are trying to build it, you can buy your way to a better credit rating by responsibly handling a secured card.

Reading credit card offer fine print -- The big letters on the envelope may say "You've been approved!" but make sure you know what you're agreeing to.

Reading a credit card statement -- Not knowing how to read it can cost you money.
PLUS: Figuring finance charges

How to cancel a credit card -- Be careful when closing an account, or it may come back to haunt you.

Good debt vs. bad debt -- A mortgage is usually good debt. Buying more clothes you don't need on credit is not.

Making a money-smart spending plan -- Do you fail every time you try to budget? Then don't say the "B" word, which reeks of self-deprivation. Say "spending plan" instead, and use it to help you get what you want.

 Understand credit reports and scores 
Why you should check your credit report -- If you are applying for a loan or credit, records of your previous dealings with some else's money are vital.

Contacting the credit bureaus -- Here are the addresses and Web sites for the big three credit reporting agencies.

Can you read your credit report? -- OK, you got your credit report just as everyone says you should. Here's how to read it.

13 myths about credit reports -- When it comes to credit information, what you think you know that isn't true can really hurt you.

Correcting errors on your credit report -- Follow these steps to get errors removed from your credit reports.

The future of FICO -- A little three-digit number, practically unknown a few years ago, keeps growing in importance for your finances.

 Protecting your identity 
8 steps to take if your identity is stolen -- This step-by-step guide will help you clear your good name.

Monitoring the credit monitoring services -- Can they protect your credit, or do they just cost you money?

 

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$50K Home Equity Loan 4.35%
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