Your Financial Health
By Janice Cackowski, Certified Financial Planner and Corporate College Instructor
We are living in unpredictable times. It is unclear how long the COVID-19 pandemic will impact us, the global economy or our own personal financial health. Financial emergencies such as job loss or costly home repairs can happen at any time and cause a great deal of stress. These types of issues are out of our control, but what we are able to control is how we prepare for our future financial health.
Here are a few things you can do now:
- Control your spending. Keep a notepad on your kitchen table for four weeks and write down everything you spend money on – and I mean everything. The mid-afternoon cup of coffee, vending machine snack, the magazine you pick up, etc. After four weeks, take a detailed look at your list and determine where your money is going, and where you may be able to easily cut back.
- Set up automatic savings. Set aside an amount (even $10 per week if that’s all you can afford) to be taken directly out of your paycheck or checking account and placed in a savings account. Set it and forget it. This is a good way to build a nest egg for a future emergency or for retirement.
- Focus on paying down debt. If you have debt, make a list of each account that you owe. Focus on making larger payments on the smallest debt first, while making the minimum payment on the others, until the smallest debt is paid off. Then use the payment amount from the paid-off debt to add to the next debt. Keep going until all are paid.
- Seek professional guidance. If your financial situation is more complex than you can handle on your own, seek help from a qualified financial professional. However, before you work with any professional, be sure they offer services that fit your needs, and be sure you know how they accept payment for those services.
Every family has a unique financial situation and is moving at their own speed. Creating a plan to get to your financial goals is imperative. Seeing the big picture and figuring out a way to get to your destination will help you achieve the financial success you deserve. Now go get started – you will feel empowered in no time!