For most people, ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes down to their financial affairs. In fact, being unaware of certain personal finance matters can end up being far more expensive than most people realise. Here are 12 things everybody should should be aware of to help you save money in the long run.
1. Your Credit Card's APR
The average credit card's rate is 18.9%, however this can vary frok anything between 0% to over 50%. This isn't much of a problem if you are paying off the debt, however, just paying the minimum monthly payment can build up a massive debt if your APR is quite high. Knowing your rate can help you decide if you need to find a better deal elsewhere.
2. How long your savings could last if you couldn't work
In an ideal world, everyone would have enough cash to cover them for six months. For most people though, this isn't the case, with the majority of workers only having enough to cover for 19 days.
3. What your home contents insurance actually covers
Most standard policies will cover gadgets such as phones in the event of a break-in, but not always if you lose your phone or it gets stolen. It is worth including these add-ons to your policy, as sometimes it can be cheaper than separate gadget-specific insurance.
4. You could earn tax-free cash from renting out a spare room
Surveys have shown that approximately 70% of home-owners have at least one unused room, but are unaware that simply by taking in a lodger they can earn up to $6,400 a year tax-free.
5. What type of locks your doors and windows have
Something as simple as stating the wrong type of locks you have on your doors and windows could invalidate your insurance in the event of a burglary. Make sure you know what type you have, and ensure you are complying with your current insurance policy.
6. What affects your credit rating
60% of us are completely unaware of what factors can affect our credit rating, yet a poor credit score can make it almost impossible to get a loan or mortgage.
7. How much using your credit or debit card costs to use abroad
This could be much, much more expensive than you realise, with most cards charging foreigh transaction fees of around 2.5%. On top of that, withdrawing cash from an ATM using a credit card abroad can quickly add to the cost.
8. Where your receipts are
Settling any insurance claims you may need to make will be a lot quicker if you have all the necessary receipts to hand. To make this easier, keep all your receipts in the same place, such as a designated box or drawer.
9. How much your jewlry is really worth
Sure, you may have an idea of how much it was when you first bought it, but with precious stone and metal prices continually fluctuating, how much is that diamond encrusted gold necklace of yours worth now? Contents insurance may not cover lost or stolen jewlry if the prices aren't up-to-date, so make sure you get it freshly valued.
10. Your vehicle's annual mileage
The more miles you do, the more likely you are to break down or have an accident – this is why motor insurers want to know how many miles you are likely to cover in a year. Stating the wrong amount may invalidate your motor insurance policy if you make a claim.
11. Your banks' phone number
There are many scenarios where you might find yourself needing to call your bank as soon as possible, the most common being a lost or stolen credit card you need to cancel. The easiest way around this is to know the number, or have it saved in your phone's address book.
12. What the excess is on your insurance
The amount your insurer expects you to pay towards the cost when you make a claim can vary according to the premium you want to pay. A higher excess means a lower monthly premium, but remember what your excess is, and make sure you have it available if you ever need to make a claim.
So there we have it, 12 essential bits of information everybody ought to know to enable them to keep on top of financial matters.