How to Check Your Credit Score

You’ve made the decision to relocate, found an apartment or house and now it’s time to start the rental or purchasing process. One of the most important things a lender or management company looks at is your credit score. Do you know yours? If not, do you know how to get it?

This article from Consumer Affairs details why credit is important, a few ways obtain it, and also a way to way get your free credit report each year.

Read the Article

Spotlight on CARE – Credit Abuse Resistance Education

CARE – A financial literacy program for students and young adults taught by bankruptcy professionals focusing on budgeting, saving, and obtaining and using credit responsibly.



Founded in 2002, the Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) program, seeks to educate high school and college students on the responsible use of credit and other fundamentals of financial literacy, as well as the potential consequences of poor money management and credit card abuse.

Now-retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of New York John C. Ninfo II founded the program. Tired of seeing so many debtors coming through his courtroom having gotten into financial trouble through the misuse of credit cards and poor financial planning and budgeting, Judge Ninfo decided to take action and the CARE program was born.


  • Financial Literacy Presentations & Seminars Around the Country: CARE is a nationwide organization that works with partners in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court System, U.S. Trustee Program and Bankruptcy Attorneys around the country to provide highly-engaging and multimedia presentations on various topics such as: budgeting & savings, the responsible use of credit, and how to manage student loans. The presentations help students understand: (1) the true cost of consumer credit; (2) how difficult it is to repay consumer debt incurred to busy and do things that many not be necessary or affordable; (3) the many consequences of financial irresponsibility, including bankruptcy; (4) the need to maintain a savings cushion and to budget effectively; and (5) the advantages of a high credit score. You provide us the time and place and we will do the rest. Our volunteers provide a unique perspective due to the nature of their work and seeing what happens when people fall into bankruptcy.
  • Curriculum & Content to Teachers: Our content and presentations are free and available to teachers, educators and other members of the public. One of our commonly used resources is Jeopacardy, a mock version of Jeopardy! that tests knowledge on credit cards and other related information. For educators, visit: to learn more.


  • CARE Take: CARE recently developed a series of 60-second videos for students and parents on basic tenants of financial literacy. These videos are bite-sized lessons that can help student learn basic financial concepts quickly and be used by educators to help reinforce lessons that they are teaching in their classroom. To find the CARE Take videos and some of other favorite videos that we use during our presentations, visit:
  • Study to Test Effectiveness of Financial Education on Distressed Consumers: The American Bankruptcy Institute Endowment Fund recently commissioned a study to test whether original, re-conceived consumer education materials have a positive effect upon the financial health of struggling individuals. The findings will be used to help CARE program develop more targeted and refined educational materials for at-risk consumers and financially vulnerable groups. The study will be conducted over a two-year period and will examine 1,200 consumers who have been sued in credit card debt-collection proceedings in state courts. It will focus on the outcomes of three different means of assisting low-income persons in financial distress: (1) the provision of pro se educational materials (of original design); (2) an offer of assistance from a lawyer; and (3) financial education.


CARE needs financial support. Our programs and seminars currently reaches more than 40,000 students every school year, but we have plans to reach 60,000 students and beyond. As we enter a new chapter in the organization’s history, your financial support is needed now more than ever in order to further develop our educational materials to more effectively reach students and further our mission of becoming a leading provider in the financial literacy and education space. If you would like to learn more about the CARE program or make a donation to the CARE program, visit:


Anna M. Flores
Executive Director
(703) 894-5985

Utah is teaching financial literacy in high school classrooms, and it’s working.

There is a disturbing trend among college students when it comes to carrying debt. Utah is using a successful approach to reverse the trend – required financial literacy coursework in the classroom. Read the full article by Jake Busby from the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation below.


How do college students behave financially and plan for the future? Are college students’ financial planning skills getting better over time?

Those are the questions that Money Matters on Campus has tried to answer.

Money Matters on Campus, a study conducted by EverFi and sponsored by Higher One, details the findings from a three-year survey of 43,000 college students from around the United States. Ultimately, the survey strives to understand how college students behave financially and plan for the future.

Money Matters on Campus recently released its 2014-15 report that highlights some very interesting findings and trends among college students and their financial behaviors. The study points out that although the amount of financial experience among incoming college students is increasing, their basic financial management planning skills are not improving. This is a very serious problem.

The study found that today’s students are more likely to have a credit card and more likely to have more than one credit card Additionally, the likelihood of engaging in responsible fiscal behaviors has decreased. Students reported that they are less likely to balance their checkbooks monthly and pay their credit cards both on time and in full each month.

As the practice of sound debt management behaviors among students, such as paying off credit cards on time and in full, has decreased, more students also feel that debt is a necessity. This attitude is especially prevalent when it comes to receiving a degree beyond high school. Students feel that going into debt is inevitable in order to attend college. They are probably right.

While we do not have a problem with student debt, and in fact are in favor of students borrowing to get a good education, we are concerned when students take debt more lightly than they should. How do we fix this? How can we help tomorrow’s college students improve their money management skills?

There are two possible solutions to this problem of a lack of financial planning. The first solution would require students in other states to follow those in Utah and take and pass a financial literacy course before graduating high school. In this class, students should learn how to budget and how to navigate the world of financial literacy. Money Matters on Campus found that students who took a class that taught financial literacy had a significant improvement in their financial behaviors.

The second solution involves technology. Money Matters on Campus found that a surprisingly small number of students use technology to manage their personal finances. Young adults are the most connected generation, and there is a great opportunity to connect these young adults to mobile applications or websites that help promote smart money management.

Although the market is flooded with popular personal finance applications such as,, and others that help individuals budget, invest, and eliminate debt, few of these applications offer instructional material that teaches individuals why these things are important.

Demand for technology that effectively offers instructional material has given rise to websites such as Khan Academy and Investopedia. Additionally, major banks and credit unions have begun to incorporate budgeting and expense tracking technology into their websites to help users make more informed decisions regarding their finances.

However, there is still much to be done to combine instructional software with money management tools to help individuals increase their knowledge, change their behavior, and create financial stability for years to come.

Trends show that students are not improving their financial planning skills. However, through utilizing effective and engaging technology and passing a financial literacy course in high school, it is possible to reverse these troubling trends.