August 14th is National Financial Awareness Day and it’s the perfect opportunity to sharpen your financial skills. National Financial Awareness Day is a day dedicated to financial literacy and helping people to learn the principles of building financial stability. Whether you are building your financial future or are a well-established financial wizard, everyone can observe the day by taking on a few small tasks aimed at their financial wellbeing. Unsure sure where to start? Here are some ideas:
Check Your Credit
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free copy, which is available either digitally or by mail. By checking your credit, you can understand what someone else sees when you apply for credit, housing, or utilities. This can include how you use your credit accounts, how much money you owe, how much available credit you have, and your payment history. Checking your score annually, can help you find inaccurate information or catch potential identity theft. Being actively aware of your credit, puts you in control of your situation and can help people to establish good habits that often result in higher credit scores.
Download an App
Do you want to keep your finances at your fingertips? Consider downloading and getting acquainted with one of the many finance apps available. There are apps that can help you to budget, pay bills, pay down debt, and more. This is a convenient way to harness technology for the sake of increasing your financial wellness.
Conquer your cash flow – Knowing where your money goes is one of the basic financial planning concepts, yet most people do not do this. Understanding where your money goes can help you pinpoint waste. By eliminating waste, you can increase savings for long-term goals such as retirement or paying down debt. Knowing that your long-term goals are accounted for you can spend excess cash flow in a guilt-free manner.
Bust Your Debt
Whether it is student loans or credit cards, most can agree that carrying extra debt can add extra stress to your situation. While some people may choose to ignore the problem, it is better to face debt head-on and strategize how to pay it down. One of the quickest ways to see progress is to use the snowball strategy. Essentially this is focusing on paying off one loan at a time starting with the smallest, then allocating what you were paying on that loan to the next smallest. Remember to continue to pay the minimum payment on the other loans to avoid adverse credit reporting.
Increase Your Saving
Bumping up your savings by a few extra dollars each month can make a huge difference. If you don’t have emergency savings in place, you may want to begin there. Aim first for $1,000, then when you have that in place, work towards 3-6 months of expenses. Note that your specific lifestyle may require a different amount of emergency reserves. Your trusted financial advisor can help you to determine what is appropriate for your situation. Another easy way to bump up savings would be increasing your retirement savings by a percent or two or enrolling in automatic contributions to investments or bank accounts.
Schedule An Appointment With A Fee-Only Fiduciary Advisor
A fiduciary will work in your best interest and avoid conflicts of interest such as commission and expensive investment products. An advisor will help you build a plan to achieve your financial goals. As your family grows, your financial plan should too, and your trusted advisor will help you adjust your plan. In addition, your advisor can help manage your assets to be sure the investment strategy aligns with your financial goals. Meeting with your advisor and reviewing your plan and investments regularly is important to measure progress and adjust the plan accordingly.
There are so many great ways to observe National Financial Awareness Day that you may not know where to start. Don’t stress, every step forward regardless of how small it is a step in the right direction.
Investment Advisor Representative
Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University.
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