I am not an expert. These are the steps and information I obtained to start the ball rolling on goal setting. My first goal is to do a fiscal checkup, as discussed in my previous post. For me, that means contacting Social Security, the three credit reporting agencies, as well as my drivers license. Let's start with credit.
Credit monitoring: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
You can receive a free (my favorite word) report each year. You have to pay for your credit score. This website will supply you with all the information you need. You can contact this agency by phone, mail or internet. I called them on the phone and it took only 5 days to get all three of my reports. You can also get a peek at your report online, but it cost $1.00. Each reporting agency will let you set up an account so that you can monitor your credit. That is one option I have not decided to use. I prefer paper in hand.
The annualcreditreport site also has other credit reporting/monitoring information that might be useful. Some are free, but the majority of them have a fee. Some also come with a free trial. All with the hopes of keeping you and your credit information safe. If you are having problems with your credit report, you can dispute any negative items. Each report is assigned a number that the agency will use as a reference. From one of the reporting agents I talked to, that number expires, so you would need to get another report to check again.
If you do not understand your report, you can contact this agency, - http://www.consumerfinance.gov/. It will explain what to look for and how to interpret the report. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission, at http://www.ftc.gov/, to know your rights and if you are having any problems you can contact your local States Attorney and their consumer protection division.
Most cities have a consumer credit counseling service. Depending on your needs, this service can be for free.
All in all, I spent nothing to receive this information. On the other end, it will take me a few stamps, some paper and envelopes. I made a few phone calls, answered a few questions and I am on my way to being debt free, the frugal way.
Editor's Note: Here is Georgette's first post about setting goals this year:
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