Wondering when you should start receiving Social Security benefits? If you are married or divorced, you may be eligible for spousal benefits that can make the decision easier. The AARP offers these strategies for using spousal benefits to your advantage: For couples with two incomes: You may be eligible to file for a spousal benefit only,… Read More


Many people wonder how they can build an emergency fund when they’re trying to pay off my debts. It isn’t as hard as you might think. The strategy is to start small, change a few habits, and change your mindset. If you’re starting from scratch with your emergency fund, begin by saving one month’s worth… Read More


Vacations are meant to give you some much needed rest and relaxation. Since lodging expenses can eat up a huge chunk of your vacation savings, you’ll want to make sure you find the best prices for them. Here are a few websites to help you find the best deals on lodgings. If you’re strictly a… Read More


Going off to college is an exciting time! Your world is about to open wide, providing you with new opportunities to expand your mind, meet new people, and begin the groundwork for your career (or figure it out). One very important skill you’ll need is learning how to save while living on your own. The… Read More


Whether you’re buying a new or used car, careful research and planning will help you get the right vehicle without the one option nobody wants: onerous monthly payments. Here are some ways to save money: Check on reliability– Nothing can torpedo a budget like unexpected repair costs. The annual Consumer Reports car reliability survey cites… Read More


Wondering if an auto warranty is right for you? Check out this short, educational video as we talk about auto warranties on this edition of Ascentra Making Cents.  To see more videos of our monthly financial education segments like this one, head to our YouTube channel.  … Read More


Pay attention to what auto dealerships are charging for GAP (guaranteed asset protection) insurance and mechanical repair coverage. GAP insurance covers the difference between what a consumer owes a lender and what an auto insurer will pay if a car is totaled or stolen shortly after it’s purchased. Mechanical repair coverage extends the dealer warranty,… Read More


What’s a certified pre-owned vehicle? Factory-trained technicians thoroughly inspect and recondition a slightly used vehicle to meet manufacturer specifications. When the vehicle is up to snuff, it’s certified as an automobile worthy of many of the same assurances that auto makers put on new cars, with manufacturer warranties lasting anywhere from three months to seven… Read More