Do you feel like your financial situation has been going off the rails on a crazy train for years, or even decades at this point? That doesn’t mean you can’t act now to change your direction and get on financial track in the New Year and beyond. It will take some planning and dedication, but even the most disorganized of spenders can rein in their spending to create a better financial outlook for the future. Here’s where you begin.
You can’t correct your financial woes if you don’t fully understand how far-reaching they are. Creating a budget gives you that big picture image of your financial situation. Here are the simple steps to create your budget.
Your budget gives you knowledge of your financial situation. Use this knowledge to take a good, hard look at your expenses to reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs.
If you really want to get on financial track, having a plan to pay off your debt is critical. It can’t be a wish or an afterthought. You must devote time, energy, and effort into the process of reducing your debt in the year ahead.
These are a few steps that can help you make headway in this endeavor.
The key, in all of this, is to act to make your financial situation better.
Savings accounts give you something other than credit cards to rely on when emergencies arise. It’s a zero-interest loan of sorts you give yourself to manage life’s little storms.
One way to do this is to determine how much money is left over each month after paying your expenses. Designate that as the amount you wish to put into savings after each check. Then, set up payroll deductions to automatically transfer that amount into your savings account.
Remember to treat those “savings” from expenses you’re able to reduce or eliminate and roll them into actual savings (versus spending those savings on something else).
Preparing for your future can mean different things depending on what you’re planning. Whether you’re saving for college, a car, a vacation, or a home, you need to prepare for these upcoming expenses.
However, preparing for the future almost always includes having a financial plan in place for your eventual retirement. If you don’t currently have a retirement plan in place, consider starting one. If you do, the beginning of the year is the perfect time to assess the state of your plan and the progress you’ve made. Don’t forget to take advantage of the full amount of your company’s matching programs, which offer free money toward your retirement.
Remember, you can contribute to both an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), and a Roth IRA. So, if your budget permits, consider taking advantage of all retirement vehicles offering tax advantages.
Finally, make an appointment with the credit union’s financial planner to learn about other ways you can save for the future and how they can help.
We’re Here to Help!
Getting your finances on track in the coming year doesn’t have to be a total sacrifice. Let us help you identify opportunities to save for and invest in your future today so you can enjoy your life’s journey, wherever it may take you.
When you’re ready to open a savings account, automate the transfer of funds, or begin planning for your retirement, stop by our branch or give us a call at 800-343-6328 to learn more about all the ways we can help.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.