A Financial Check-Up To Start The Year Off Right
For many of us, the New Year marks an opportunity for a fresh start. As we evaluate past resolutions and what helped us to stay on track, consider taking some time for a financial checkup. We’ve found it to be a real game changer when it comes to moving towards your financial goals throughout the year.
Click here for a FREE, one-page Financial Check-Up Checklist. Keep reading for the thought process behind it.
Setting Realistic Goals
At the start of each year, it’s important to not only identify your short and long-term goals, but also evaluate your action plans for achieving them. Are you saving for big purchase like your first home or a family vacation? Is that money set aside in its own account, separate from other savings and spending money? Perhaps you’re seeking the financial security of an emergency savings fund. Are you setting aside a set amount or percentage from each paycheck to achieve this goal? Taking the time to set clear, realistic goals as well as a plan to reach them can make a world of difference when it comes to your financial wellness and peace of mind.
Sweat the Details
While setting a realistic goals is the first major step on the path to financial wellness, there are a few small details that you should review at least once a year to make sure they’re aligned with and not threatening to derail your goals and plans.
In particular, be sure to download or get physical copies of the following:
- Credit Report(s) (free from annualcreditreport.com)
- Credit Card Statements
- Statements for any Loans
In reviewing your credit report, loans, and credit cards, you’re looking to make sure all your personal information is accurate and that you have a firm grasp of what you owe and to whom. It’s also a great time to review your current rates and compare them to rates available from your credit union. There may be opportunities to save by refinancing or consolidating that could give your savings goals a boost.
Go Beyond the Basics
If you only do what we’ve covered so far, you’ll have given yourself a good financial wellness check and a strong footing from which to pursue your goals in the new year. But here at Call Federal, one of our core principles is to “go beyond” good enough and reach further. We started out by identifying your short- and long-term goals and how you’ll reach them. But then what? What could change those goals for the better and what would that mean for you? A bigger house? An earlier retirement? Are there investments you could make in yourself right now that might bring about that change, like learning a new skill, asking for a promotion, or changing jobs?
Are you taking care of physical and emotional health? Improving your diet and exercise routines can pay off in fewer medical expenses while tending to your mental health can improve job performance that could lead to a bigger raise or new career opportunities, to say nothing of the positive effects on your interpersonal relationships. By taking a holistic approach to your check-up, you’ll gain a stronger appreciation and understanding for how financial wellness connects both your present and future selves.
When it comes to New Years resolutions, it can be discouraging when we don’t know where to start. While we’ve given you all this helpful information, rather than print out this blog post, we’ve put together this handy (& FREE!) Financial Check-up Checklist. Need a little help getting through this financial check-up? Simply print out the checklist and bring it to any of our branch locations and a Call Federal team member will be happy to assist you. Are you interested in creating a financial plan for yourself but don’t really know where to start? Visit our Financial Coaching page and complete the Financial Wellness Request form and one of our Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors will be in touch to schedule a free personalized session to get you on the right path.