Make 2019 the year you improve your financial security.
You’ve probably heard the famous quote by Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Here’s one you may have not heard before by French writer and poet, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So, if we were to combine the two quotes and stated it very simply, it might sound something like, “If you are stuck in the same old rut and want to go in a different direction, set a goal and outline a plan to get there.”
Like millions of people, you may be tired of being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and unable to put money into your savings account. If you are in a bad financial situation, these 5 goals may help you get back on track:
Seek professional assistance – If you are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of securing a more profitable future and you are unsure of the steps you need to take, it might be a good time to make an appointment with a professional. As a member of New Dimensions Federal Credit Union, you have FREE access to our Director of Financial Education, Tanya Verzoni. Tanya can help you build a budget or show you how to build your credit by providing viable resources and best practices on how to pay down debt and get your bills paid on time. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at any one of our four convenient locations. Contact her today at (800) 326-6190.
Pay your bills on time – Set reminders on your cell phone calendars, use bill reminder apps, or paper calendars to remind you when your bills are due. You can even set up auto payments to have your bills automatically deducted from your checking account. Similarly, New Dimensions has an online bill pay that is an excellent tool for you to use. Did you know that just one late payment on your mortgage can lower your FICO credit score by 60 points or more?
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE – It’s critical that you actively contribute to a savings account. It is not good practice to rely solely on credit for emergencies. Experts suggest that you save at least six months’ worth of bills in case you lose your job or sustain a significant medical expense. If you treat your contribution like a monthly bill you can use automatic transfers each time you are paid and by the end of the month, you will have saved the money without having to remember to call or manually transfer it.
Open a Health Savings Account – HSAs are a great way for people with a high deductible health plan to save for medical expenses and reduce taxable income. Each plan year, you will decide how much to contribute to your HSA account based on the amount of expected expenses (note: government-mandated maximums may not be exceeded). You will receive a debit card linked to your HSA balance, and you can use the funds on eligible medical expenses such as deductibles, prescriptions, co-pays, and other qualified medical expenses not covered by your plan. HSA contributions are pre-tax/tax-deductible, so rest assure the money grows tax-free and the money is utilized tax-free when used for eligible medical expenses. Paying these types of expenses with pretax dollars will enable you to save money. Ask us for details on our Health Savings Accounts by contacting us at (800) 326-6190.
Increase your income AND decrease your expenses – If it has been a while since you got a raise, perhaps it is time that you ask for one. Approach your boss with a plan and valid reasons why you deserve a raise. In other words—do your homework! Here’s an informative blog from Glassdoor, which outlines how/when to ask for a raise: https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/how-to-ask-for-a-raise/. If you are at the limit on salary at your current job, you may want to keep your eye out for better opportunities while keeping your current job and taking on a second job for the short-term. Additionally, look at your budget and reduce or eliminate some discretionary spending (i.e. dining out, coffee shop purchases, clothing, or services such as rarely used subscriptions.) Use the savings to pay down debt or add to your savings account.
We can assure you that becoming financially fit is a possibility, but it will take some planning and a lot of action and commitment on your part. Start by defining what’s important to you and then outline the steps that you MUST take to get to where you want to be. A year from now, you could be realizing your goals, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps even deciding on some new goals you’d like to achieve.