Your Next Step Toward Financial Wellness
The year is just about over, but there's something important you can still do to continue making financial progress: a year-end review. Look back at how you managed your budget and other money matters in 2017, in order to understand what you want to do more, and less, and differently in 2018. Make this a priority - before you ring in the New Year, or soon after.
We have tips and tools that will help you:
Check Out How You Spent Your Money
In addition to rent or mortgage, utilities, and other basic expenses, review your checking account and credit card statements for your average monthly spending on nonessentials in 2017, including entertainment and vacations, restaurant meals, and holiday shopping. Was your total spending no more than 90% of your income? Ideally, it was less than that, but if you managed to stay within that figure, you made progress on your journey to financial wellness.
Build Your Rainy Day Fund
This year, have you been able to save at least 10% of your income? Unexpected expenses for health care, home repairs and other needs can come up at any time, and slow or reverse your financial progress if you don't have savings to cover them. Save for emergencies and make sure your rainy day fund is full before putting aside money for other savings goals.
Prepare for The Future
Once your emergency fund is in place, you can save toward other goals. Remember, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the more you can ensure that you'll have the life you hope to enjoy after you say good-bye to your job. Save as soon as possible, and take advantage of smart opportunities to grow your retirement savings more quickly. If your employer offers to match your contributions to a 401(k), up to a certain percentage, contribute the maximum percentage every month to get the maximum matching funds. You'll reduce your taxable income, and grow your retirement savings tax-free until you use them.
Two more ways to help create the future you want for your family: Be sure you have the right life insurance. Prepare a will and start your estate planning. Use our resources to make your vision of your family's future truly possible.
Manage Your Debt
How did you do on the debt front this year? Ideally, your total debt balance, including credit cards and loans, is less than 67% of your gross annual income. To get there, or go lower, check out five things you can do to pay down your debts and reduce your balance. Lower is better!
Now, if you find that you have made good progress this year, maybe it is time to start thinking about a big reward. Would you love a summer vacation with your family, or a great staycation, but wonder if you can have one and stay within your budget? We can help you manage that too, with tips about simple ways to save - while enjoying yourself thoroughly.