Four Priorities for Financial Wellness
How healthy are your finances? If money worries keep you up at night, you’re not alone. The 2017 Stress in America survey found that 62% of Americans said finances were a major stressor. But there are steps that you can take to increase your financial stability.
- Create a detailed budget
Think of your budget like your GPS – a turn-by-turn guide to how to spend your money. Most people remember to budget for big expenses like the mortgage, car payments and daycare. But once-a-year purchases like birthday gifts or swim lessons can sneak up and break the budget. Make sure the budget accounts for all the little expenses that come up throughout the year.
If one of your goals is paying off debt, this will also help you find cuts that you can make to pay it off quicker. When it comes to being approved for future loans, living within your budget is more important than how much you make.
- Pay yourself first
Just like you wouldn’t let your kids start their dinner with ice cream, putting money into your savings first guarantees that you don’t overspend on fun items. The best way to save is to have money automatically deposited into your savings account each paycheck. But you may be wondering how much you need to save. A good rule of thumb is to have three months’ salary in your savings account. This will make setbacks like a damaged roof or car repair an inconvenience instead of a catastrophe.
- Max out your company’s retirement options
This is the one thing I wish I had done earlier. After you’ve built up that emergency fund, it’s time to focus on the future. If someone can start saving for retirement in their 20’s, they will be so much further ahead. But even if you’re not in your twenties, it’s not too late. The best advice I can give is to take advantage of everything offered by your company’s retirement program, including the match. This will help you have the retirement years you’ve always dreamed of.
- Grow your savings
If you’ve completed the steps above, congratulations! You have a strong financial foundation. Consider placing future savings into a certificate or money market account to maximize those returns. You’re ready to start investing in your future.
If you want to talk to someone about your finances, TTCU has certified financial counselors at every branch. If learning at home is more your speed, TTCU offers FoolProof, a free, online, self-paced program. It covers everything from budgeting to taxes to learning to recognize a scam. Find out more at ttcu.com.
TTCU is federally insured by NCUA.
Liz Stidham is the Senior Vice President of Branch Operations for TTCU Federal Credit Union. You can reach her at [email protected] or 918-749-8828 ext. 8562.