COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - You've probably heard that the Federal Reserve, which sets our monetary policy, raised interest rates by just a quarter of a percent.
It made news because it's the first rate increase in 10 years. Most of us are not financial wizards.
But having some degree of financial literacy is important because responsible citizens need to understand how the wider economy affects our own individual wallets.
Here are some basic points about rising interest rates to remember:
- Car loan rates may creep up, which could affect the kind of car you might buy.
- Home mortgage rates, now at historic lows, may also rise slightly, and could add to your monthly mortgage payment over time.
- Credit card rates will go up, so your debt will get more expensive.
But right now, you can do something smart about your money, something most people won't do: save money. Any amount of money you can save puts you in control of your finances.
Financial experts say if you aren't saving anything right now, try to start with at least 2 percent of your net pay. That means if your net income is $3,000 every month, save $60. As you get used to it, gradually increase your savings until you can save at least 10 percent.
Using that example, if you saved $60 a month for 30 years, you will have $100,000. That's a lot of money and sadly, it's more than most people save in their lifetime.
Most Americans don't save enough for retirement. Don't be one of them.
No matter what the Federal Reserve does or how the stock market performs, nothing beats saving money. It isn't flashy and it takes discipline, but it's the smartest thing we can all do in an uncertain economy.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906