Do you have financial issues? Of course you do — we all do. Well, then, how do you get past your money issues?
Let us count the ways:
1. Get past your discomfort — Examine yourself for any anxiety you may have about money and your beliefs about it. Deep down, do you think that money is corrupting? Or beneficial?
2. Understand your full financial picture — Don’t forget indirect costs that you may not think about but that can really derail you financially. Compare your options for repayment of educational loans, for instance.
3. Ask about financial incentives — Reduce the amount you need to borrow. Explore opportunities for lower interest on existing loans or credit debt. Research additional funding prospects.
4. Understand your repayment options — Make sure your payment plan reflects your individual needs for student loan debt, car loans and mortgage payments. Certain government jobs may qualify you for a student loan forgiveness program. Consider income-driven repayment plans. Plug into financial literacy toolkits offering guidance on debt repayment.
5. Create a budget — The best way to develop a budget is to track all your expenses for 30 days. Once you have a list of expenses, determine which are fixed, like your car payment and rent, and which are discretionary, like gourmet coffee or movies. Add up your expenses and subtract them from your net paycheck, and you should have more money than what you had the previous month left. There’s a free resource on creating a budget and spending plan from the U.S. Department of Labor — Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future.
6. Cut back for a month — One way to boost savings and better understand your relationship with money is to try for one month to spend money only on absolute essentials, cutting out Starbucks trips, for example. Many people discover that they can save between 20 and 40 percent of their net income. In fact, one couple also lost 10 pounds from eating at home more. This teaches you that you can save a lot more than you originally thought you could.
7. Don’t forget retirement — It’s critical to contribute as much as you can to a 401(k) or IRA. Put about 10 percent of your salary toward retirement — enough to contribute up to your employer’s matching amount if offered.
8. Monitor your credit — A good credit score ensures that you can qualify for the lowest interest rates. Polish your credit report by establishing a good payment history. Work to pay down existing high debts.
If you’re cash-strapped or your personal finances are otherwise pinched, it’s a good time to evaluate how to manage your money. Saving is important so you can prevent having to take out high-cost loans to cover expenses, damaging your bank account.
Don’t forget to leave room to pay yourself. Set aside enough money for an emergency fund: It will help when you’re blindsided with an unexpected job loss. Aim for at least three to six months’ salary, but even having $1,000 as a backup is better than no backup at all.
Talk to an MCB Advisor. We can help you fine-tune your financial goals, whether you’re saving for a home or starting another company. One hour with a professional can set you up for the next couple of years.
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