Don't Let Your Finances Spook You

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Ghosts, goblins and ghouls may scare when Halloween is in the air, but a frightening financial fiasco could be the real nightmare. Don't let your finances spook you.

Screams in the night. 911 doesn't pick up. No one comes. Unexpected emergencies abound year-round -- not just on Old Hallow's Eve. Like when someone in your family suddenly falls ill (read: vampire bite) and you have to fly across country immediately. That's an expensive ticket and a bona fide emergency, but having cash stashed keeps the Military Fool from going to the dark side and using credit cards.

Deadly debt. Don't let credit card balances creep up on you. It can put your financial future six feet under. And paying only the minimum balance makes matters worse -- you could be paying for today's purchases for years to come. Kill those debts off quickly.

They've come to suck your blood. Identity vampires lurk to trick you out of your financial information. Scare them away by checking your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com. Use anti-virus and malware programs, and consider signing up for a credit monitoring service.

House of horrors. Being held captive by your home mortgage is scarier than any haunted house attraction. When you're upside-down, you may not be able to tell which way is up ... or out? If you plan to live there until the Grim Reaper calls your name, don't be afraid. If you have to get out, consider becoming a landlord. Or face your fears, and let your bank know you need help.

Life of the living dead. Don't spend your retirement years living like a zombie. Consider building a retirement bunker with a Thrift Savings Plan or a Roth IRA before it's too late.

More dreadful than a ghost tour in a hearse, tales of financial doom are worse -- don't let these frightening stories come true. Choose your own poison -- trick or treat, it's up to you.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm) in the U.S. which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirement

Financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California, License No.  0E36312 ), a registered investment advisor and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, a registered broker dealer.

At the time this article was published We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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