Follow this 5 step plan to make your personal finances healthier and build a better Financial Future for you and your family.
Step #1: Set Your Money Goals
In this first step, it is tim to sit down and really think about where you want to be financially in the future. Think about the following questions to get you started on setting your money goals:
- What part of your financial life was disappointing last year and what can you change so it is better next year?
- What part of you financial life worries causes you the me the most stress, and what safety nets can you put in place to help relieve this stress?
- What would you be proud to accomplish in the next 5 years of you financial life?
Step #2: Check Your Credit Report
Your credit report plays a huge role in your personal finances and financial future. Each year you can pull your credit report for free from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Simply go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get your Free Credit Report.
Instead of pulling all three reprots at once, try spreading them throughout the year. For example, pull your Equifax credit report today, then mark your calendar to pull your Experian credit report in 4 months and your Trans Union credit report in 8 months. By doing this you will be keeping a close eye on your credit without breaking the bank!
If you want to check your credit score for free, go to CreditKarma.com
Setp #3: Research your Debt Elimination Options
If you have credit card debt, retail store cards, medical bills or other unsecured debts, you have several options available to you to help eliminate that debt once and for all while saving you time and money.
- If you plan to pay off your debt on your own, consider adjusting how you make your payments. The Debt Snowball is a popular method to help you pay down your debts fast.
- If you are able to keep up with your payments, but your high interest rates are keeping you from eliminating your debt, a Debt Consolidation Program may be a great option for you.
- If you are struggling to keep up with your minimum payments or you have already fallen behind, you should consider enrolling in a Debt Settlement Program which can reduce your monthy payments and eliminate your debt for much less than what you owe!
Step #4: Create a Budget
If you are like so many others out there living paycheck to paycheck, creating a budget can help you to start saving for your retirement and start building an emergency fund.
Start by writing down everything you spend for an entire month. Once you have done this, take a look at how you’ve been spending your money, and see where you can cut back in order to put some money into savings or pay down your debt.
Step #5: Set up Automatic Retirement Contributions
Participating in a retirement plan at work is a great way to make sure you’re consistently investing for your future. If you don’t have a workplace plan you can invest in an IRA as long as you have some amount of earned income.
Set up a direct deposit so a percentage of your paycheck is automatically invested in your IRA. Or set up an automatic transfer from your bank account to your IRA once a month or every payday. Automating your financial goals is the best way to make sure you accomplish them.