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Something you need to know about Money

Financial Freedom Series - Something you need to know about Money

Don't hide from your money. Not knowing your full financial picture can set you up for fiscal Armageddon. Face your finances now.

You must have a budget. Call it a spending plan.

Stay out of debt. "Not having the debt hang over your head allows you to make decisions based on your own best interests and not based on the best interests of those that you owe money to."

Let compound interest help you. "Your money starts to compound no because you're putting money in, but because the interest, or the income your money makes, is compounding."

Say "no" to lenders. Just because they offer you credit- doesn't mean you have to take it.

Know your FICO score. This tree-digit number is the key to being approved or everything from credit cards ad mortgages to financing for cars and student loans.

Ask for a FICO score before getting serious. If you are dating more than casually, at some point you need to have the money conversation.

Understand the benefits of Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Active military, especially those serving in a designated hot zone, can take advantage of perks when it comes to their finances- including a cap on interest rates for balances prior to deployment.

Don't pass up 10 percent interest if you're military. Imagine being able to sock away $10,000 and earn 10 percent interest on it. If you're deployed, you don't have to dream it.

Know how credit cards really work.The Myth: One late payment won't hurt. The Truth: It sure can.

Calculate your spending power. The easiest way to calculate how much of your pay you bring home is to cut 35 to 40 percent right off the top of your salary.

Build up an emergency stash. You should have at least three to six months' worth of expenses saved as an emergency fund.

Learn to talk about money without starting a fight. "Don't confront your spouse about how much he's spending right when a box arrives in the mail. Do it when you aren't reacting in the heat of the moment."

Split household bills equitably. In two-income households, determining who pays what can get sticky.

Don't forbear your student loans. Federal student loans have some of the lowest rates out there, but that interest still adds up- especially if you forbear your nonsubsidized loans.

Be aware of prices. There's serious money to be saved couponing.

Investing does not have to be hard. Yeah, it seems scary. But it doesn't have to be. "Investing is not hard if you ask a financial advisor to help you."

Start saving for retirement now. Time is the most important ingredient in any financial recipe.

Prioritize your retirement. Paying for your child's college education is a noble thought, but be sure you can afford it.

Window shopping is dangerous. "The logic is that when you try something on, you take possession of it."

Financial autonomy is imperative. Even if you have joint accounts, you need a credit card in your own name.

You need more than car insurance. There are also renters, homeowners and umbrella insurance, Valuable Personal Property and life insurance policies.

Don't compare yourself to others financially. "There's no way to tell what someone else's financial situation is."

Understand the retirement alphabet soup. Retirement planning can seem complex, but it's not as complex once you know what the acronyms mean.

You may have to support your parents when they get older. The average life expectancy today is about 80 years, according to the Census Bureau.

Your parents may know less about money than you think. Ideas often get passed down generation to generation when it comes to finances.

Grad school is not a solution to unemployment. "You only go to grad school because it makes sense for your career." "It's not the answer to not knowing what to do with your life."

Your best investment is in yourself. "Your earning power is your financial security to a great extent. You want to protect it and invest in it when necessary."

Pay more than you owe on your mortgage each month. If your lender allows, pay your mortgage every two weeks instead of once a month.

Things should get easier. It may seem impossible to save as you face the big life moves of your 20s- buying a car, buying a house, getting married, building a career, etc- but it should get easier.