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Special report

10 financial facts of life

There are just so many things your parents can tell you. Most lessons are learned through trial and error. That's OK for the little stuff like how to disguise your dragon tattoo at the job interview, but when it comes to money -- mistakes really hurt. Here are tips for keeping your flow.

..............................................................................
 
1.

Low interest rates have a dark side
Don't let rock-bottom interest distract you from paying off your debts.

 
2.

Bad credit sends insurance premiums sky high
Industry experts say that your responsibility in handling your credit is an accurate predictor of how much you're going to pay for auto insurance.

   
3.

Bank "floats" are nearly extinct
The check you write today at the grocery store could clear today -- thanks to new technology.

   
4. Bad habits boost creditors' bottom line
Grace period is a thing of the past. Forgot to send your payment on time? Get slapped with a $35 late fee.
Plus: How to steer clear of those monster fees
   
5. Paperless future is set for bills
Get ready for the transition to online billing and save money on stamps.
 
6..

Credit 'fraud alerts' are not theft proof
Don't let your guard down, putting a fraud alert on your credit report will not stop an identity thief.

 
7.

Sanitized hard drives aren't so clean
Just because it's deleted, doesn't mean it's gone. Make sure you remove any account information before tossing that computer away.

 
8. Bounce protection leaves your bank account flat
Consumer groups say it's anything but a good deal. Here's why you should not sign up for overdraft protection.
   
9. Unpaid medical bills put your credit rating on life support
When caught in the crossfire between doctors and health insurance companies -- you lose.
   
10.
Forgotten 401(k) plans cost you
Here's why you should take it with you when you find a new job.
 
 
-- Posted: Oct. 23, 2003
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See Also
12 steps to good money management
Financial myths ... dispelled!
Financial literacy pays off in many ways

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