A “Wellness Check” for Your Finances
Posted on January 30, 2019
by Kyle Chaney, Branch Manager
The benefits of physical fitness are well known: when you stay in shape with exercise and a proper diet, you feel better and stay healthier. Similarly, you need to devote time and effort to experience the benefits of financial wellness.
Financial wellness can be defined as effectively managing your personal or family budget, and saving consistently while establishing economic stability. Financial wellness decreases stress and increases your self-esteem as you work toward achieving your goals.
It’s a long-term process, but here are some tips to check your financial wellness so you can start enjoying the benefits.
- Create a plan. Decide where you want your finances to take you and compare that to your current financial situation. Write down all the steps to reach your financial goal and assign a time period to achieve each one. For example, you want to go on a trip and know about what it will cost. How much do you have to save each month to pay for it? How does it fit into the rest of your bills and expenses? Make a checklist and track your progress. Reward yourself periodically as you come closer to your goal.
- Automate savings. It’s easier to resist spending money if you never see it hit your checking account. Set up an automatic transfer each paycheck from your checking account to savings. Experts suggest aiming to set away six months’ worth of income for emergencies. It’s also wise to put about 10 percent of your income toward retirement.
- Carry cash. Swiping a credit or debit card can make spending money feel a little too easy. Pulling out dollars for each purchase forces you to be more aware of how much you’re spending. Take out only a set amount of money each week to help stay within your budget and cut down on impulsive spending.
- Improve your credit score. A poor credit score will hold you back financially, even if you’ve cultivated healthy budgeting and spending skills. Pay off lingering debts and be sure to pay off all new expenses promptly to improve your credit score. You may want to consider setting up automated bill pay, so you don’t accidentally miss payment dates.
- Build financial literacy. You can’t be financially well if you don’t know how to be. Consider utilizing podcasts, books, articles, and shows that teach financial concepts. For a more hands-on approach, research financial literacy classes, or attend the educational seminars Cinfed hosts with Saxon Financial. Through Saxon, Cinfed offers certified financial counselors who are trained specifically to help improve financial wellness.
Financial wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. You have many resources to help you along the way, from online and digital tools to the staff at your local credit union. If you take the time and make the effort, you will appreciate the results.