The Basics of Financial Wellness
Becoming financially well requires maintaining foundational elements, including a budget, emergency fund, strong credit score, and retirement savings. To make sure that you’re on the right track, develop a financial plan that lays out clear goals and timelines. Below are steps to consider to get you started:
As a first step, make a reasonable and practical budget, assessing your income and expenses (by month, if possible), to understand your cash flow, identifying areas where you can trim costs. Revisit and revise your budget regularly to make sure it aligns with your personal circumstances.
Save for Unexpected Expenses
Expect unexpected expenses, such as a medical emergency, major car repair, and an appliance replacement, establishing an emergency fund that can pay for these costs. (Ideally, you want to keep three to six months’ worth of living expenses in the fund.) Without such a backup source of payment, you may have to incur credit card debit, which can be unwise.
Check your credit report periodically, making sure that there are no errors, while using it as a tool to make sure that you’re paying your bills on time and staying within your established credit limits. Such actions will help increase your credit score. NOTE: You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from the three major credit reporting companies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Establish Long-Term Financial Goals
Saving for your retirement is a personal decision that will help shape your lifestyle for your future self. It’s never too early (or late) to work with a financial professional to strengthen your retirement plan.
Increase Investments Potential Faster With Early Contributions
Investing early and often, such as a small recurring investment over a long period of time, has the potential to produce greater returns than investing a larger amount over a shorter period of time.
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