Three Keys to Managing Your Money-Do You Use Them?
- Written by Remar Sutton
- Category: Articles
What are your financial goals? Longer-term goals may include buying a home, saving for your children's college education, or planning and investing for a retirement free of money worries. In the shorter-term, maybe you'd like to buy a new car or plan for a dream vacation. Managing your money wisely can help you reach your goals. Three powerful strategies form the foundation for success: 1) building a budget, 2) controlling your credit, and 3) setting up savings plans to grow your money. Your credit union has tools to help you do all three. This report outlines how.
If you start building on the three foundation blocks to manage your money today—or renew your commitment to building on them—you help ensure that you and your family will have the financial resources to accomplish your goals for the future.
Build a Budget
Do you know exactly how much income you and your family have on a monthly and annual basis? Do you know how much you and your family spend every month and each year? What do you spend it on?
Looking at what you spend enables you to look for places where money may be slipping unnoticed out of your account spent in areas or on items where you can save. It may identify expenses where you can cut down slightly – such as on clothing or entertainment – and free up money to save for your goals.
To get started, check out the information on budgeting and money management provided in our FoolProof Solo program.
Tip: Tired of bank fees? Check out the many services provided free on Corning CU checking accounts, including the account itself. The Windfall Checking account, for instance, not only requires no minimum balance and has no monthly fee or per-check charge, it pays you interest of 2.00% APY on your balance up to $20,000.
Control Your Credit
Your credit rating and credit score have a big impact on your finances. Your creditworthiness determines how much interest you'll pay on a credit card, an auto loan, a home mortgage and other loans. A lower rating means higher rates. A poor rating even affects your ability to get credit or a loan on any terms. Your creditworthiness may also influence what you pay for insurance or your ability to rent an apartment.
Paying all bills on time and paying down debt are just two steps you can take to improve your credit score and to keep it high. For an interactive program on managing credit check out FoolProof Solo. If you need help to manage debt, start here.
Tip: Learn how to get your annual free credit report and access it from Corning CU. If you need help reviewing your credit status, Corning CU will be happy to help.
Set Up Savings Plans to Grow Your Money
What longer-range financial goals are you saving for? Most financial experts recommend first establishing an "emergency" or "rainy day" savings fund of 3 to 6 months of basic expenses. An emergency fund can protect against unexpected events or expenses derailing your longer-term plans. Many families then put a priority on 1) saving for children's higher education and 2) saving for retirement. You may have different or additional goals.
What's important is to set up savings and investment strategies to meet your goals if you have not done so. If you already have savings plans in place, it may be time to review your investment management strategies. Corning CU provides useful information about many financial planning areas in its Planning for Life Events webpages.
You may also wish to check out two previous reports: 1) Are You Saving for Your Kids' College? Tips for Success No Matter When You Start and 2) After the Great Recession: Are Your Retirement Savings on Track? Tips for Meeting Your Goal.
Tip: Estate Planning includes a range of tasks including financial planning. Our Fifty Plus Guide contains a section of resources on Estate Planning.
Sound Money Management Today Can Lead to a Bright Tomorrow
If you start building on the three foundation blocks to manage your money today—or renew your commitment to building on them—you help ensure that you and your family will have the financial resources to accomplish your goals for the future. At each step, Corning CU has the tools and the people to help.