As we approach February…how are you doing on your resolutions? As your credit union, we’d like to encourage you to make one a commitment to financial security and success. Don’t just resolve to become physically fit this year; become financially fit, too.
When trying to lose weight, people often turn to others for help and support. They do research, ask questions, struggle to meet goals, and will often regroup after taking a step backwards. Becoming financially fit is no different. Connex Credit Union is here to provide you with the information and resources you need to make 2014 your most financially fit year yet. These seven exercises are a great way to make over your financial life.
Your Financial Workout Plan:
- Exercise #1: Weigh In
- Exercise #2: Set Goals
- Exercise #3: Be Prepared
- Exercise #4: Make a Plan
- Exercise #5: Develop Healthy Habits
- Exercise #6: Lose Debt
- Exercise #7: Stick with It
|Connex has developed helpful planning and budgeting tools to help you get financially fit. Once you complete our planning and budgeting worksheets, one of our Financial Advocates will be in touch to help you develop a working budget and financial plan to meet your goals – click here to get started.|
When struggling financially, it’s often difficult to jump on the scale and get a real picture of where you are. If you’re going to make changes this year, start by being honest about where your finances are right now. Weigh in! Make a list of all your debts and liquid assets. Include credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and outstanding medical bills in your listing of debts. Then, list all your sources of income, including child support and contract jobs. It’s important to know where you stand financially so you can set goals and plan for the future.
Becoming debt-free is an ideal goal, but if your debt adds up to more than your yearly income, it can be a frustrating and even counterproductive goal. Instead, set smaller, realistic goals that can bring success in a short period of time. Once you achieve one small goal, you’ll be motivated to move on to another, larger one. It’s also important to plan and save for your longer term saving goals while working on paying debt. Helping your kids with paying for school or saving for retirement are important goals to set.
Unexpected expenses happen. A car needs new tires, a child outgrows his jacket, an appliance needs to be repaired – but with an emergency fund, you’ll be ready for these unanticipated occasions. To help keep your goals, set aside some cash that’s easily accessible so you can turn to it rather than a credit card when an emergency comes up. Connex has Special Purpose Accounts that are great for setting aside an emergency fund.
Make a Plan
If you want to become financially fit this year, you must create a budget. You’ve already taken stock of where you are financially, so now it’s time to plan where you want to go. List all your monthly expenses and compare them to the monthly income you listed earlier. Your income should exceed your expenses. If not, it’s time to improve your bottom line.
Develop Healthy Habits
You cannot become financially fit if you spend more than you bring in each month. Find a way to either cut expenses or increase your income. What are some non-essential expenses in your budget? You can easily trim monthly pedicures, car washes, dinners out, and maybe even gym memberships from your expenses. Shop around for better rates on car and home owners insurance.
Increasing income is another great way to become more financially fit. Do you have a hobby, such as graphic design, knitting, or writing that could earn you extra income? Extra income will help you pay down your debt at a much faster rate.
Lose that Debt
Reducing or eliminating debt is the single best thing you can do for your financial future. When you figure late fees and interest into your budget, you don’t make much progress on the principal balance. You can start by paying off your smallest debts first or by paying off your high-interest debts first – it really depends on your situation. You can also look for ways to lower your interest rates. Stop by one of our branches and our financial advocates can help get you on the right path.
Stick with It
Making changes to your life is a challenge. Take the time each month to look at your budget and your bottom line and make adjustments as you go. There is no magic solution to becoming financially fit, and you will make mistakes along the way. Don’t be discouraged when you slip up. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn and regroup so you can push hard to your financially healthy and secure future.
What are some of your financial goals for 2014 and beyond? We can’t wait to help you get started on meeting your goals!