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Bankrate.com's Financial Literacy Survey shows that 70 percent of Americans polled consider themselves good to excellent at managing their money, yet only 25 percent scored above a "C" when it comes to actually doing it. So, what's it take to be a good financial manager? We've identified 12 actions that indicate smart money skills.

12 steps to good money management

1. Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.
Organize due date to pay on time; Avoid the penalty punch; Your credit card statement made simple

2. Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards.
Calculate the true cost of paying the minimum; Tips for spending less, saving more; 15 credit card terms

3. Read your bank statement regularly.
Anatomy of a bank statement; 7 ways to keep your account in check; 10 most common checking account terms

4. Build an emergency fund of at least three months' living expenses.
FAQ about emergency savings; Tips for kicking off a savings plan; Calculate what it'll take to save for a goal

5. Prepare a will.
Everything you need to know to write a will; What's a living will?; More personal finance advice

6. Shop around for the best insurance rates and coverage.
The basics of car insurance; 19 ways to save on auto insurance; More insurance advice

7. Look around for and switch to credit cards with lower rates.
How to transfer a balance safely; Ask for a lower credit card rate; More on credit cards

8. Follow a monthly budget.
Develop your own spending plan; What's your spending style?; Money-saving tips

9. Adjust your W-4 annually to make sure you are not giving the government too much money.
Understanding withholding ; Open a flexible spending account; More on taxes

10. Check your credit report annually for accuracy.
Why you should check your credit report; Understanding your credit report; Protect yourself from identity theft

11. Contribute to a retirement account.
Frequently asked questions about 401(k)s; The ABCs of IRAs; More on investing

12. Comparison shop for the best deal on your mortgage or refinancing.
Lower your mortgage costs with a refinance; Estimate your savings with refi calculator; More on mortgages

 

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