Feeling overwhelmed by money matters? You’re not alone. Between budgeting, saving, and planning for the future, getting your finances in order can feel like an uphill battle. But what if you could take control and set yourself up for financial wellness?
Read on to learn how to become financially well and get your finances on track for a brighter tomorrow.
Understanding Financial Well-Being
Financial wellness is about having a solid grasp of your monetary circumstances. This includes taking care of everyday expenses, saving for future objectives, and making intelligent money decisions. Financial well-being brings freedom and stability to your life.
Why Financial Wellness is Important
Solid finances provide stability, open up choices, and allow you to live your values. Financial wellness is not just about having money in the bank—it’s about enjoying life without monetary burdens weighing you down.
Being financially fit means you dictate where your money goes rather than the other way around. It gives you the freedom to pursue goals, enjoy life, and manage responsibilities without stress.
Building Blocks for Financial Success
Smart money management doesn’t need to be complicated or mentally draining. With careful planning and a few essential practices, you can build a solid financial foundation.
Start with a Budget
Creating a budget aligns spending with priorities. First, list your monthly income. Then account for fixed expenses, including housing, transportation, and debt payments. Next, estimate variable expenses like utilities, groceries, and discretionary spending. Compare total expenses to income and adjust category amounts as needed until balanced. GreenPath Financial Wellness offers guides and worksheets to help organize your expenses.
Revisiting your budget monthly and updating it as required is an important part of the budgeting process. Performing this regular check-in will help maintain a balanced budget that aligns closely with your spending priorities.
“Pay yourself first” by setting up automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts. Even small, regular contributions accumulate over time. Optimize employer-matched retirement contributions first, then build emergency and other savings funds. Out of sight, out of mind is the key—automation takes the effort out of saving.
Understand Your Credit
Your credit report and score impact your financial options. Learning how to build and protect your credit is key to financial wellness. Keep credit card balances low and pay on time. Review credit reports annually and dispute any errors.
Build Credit Strategically
If you have poor or no credit, consider applying for a credit card designed to help rebuild or improve your score. Once your history improves, graduate to a card with greater limits. With time and diligent effort, you can build credit and make it work for you.
Live Below Your Means
Align lifestyle and spending with your actual income, not projected raises or bonuses. Distinguish needs from wants and spend mindfully on the latter. Small daily expenses add up, so pack lunches and limit dining out.
Buy quality items once rather than quantity disposable items repeatedly. For example, disposable paper plates cost much more in the long run than a one-time dishware purchase. A simple lifestyle saves money that you can invest for the future.
Get Expert Guidance
Seeking professional advice can provide an objective perspective on your finances. Consult a certified financial planner for budgeting, debt management, and investment guidance. Many nonprofits, like credit unions, also offer free financial coaching. The right advice empowers you to reach your money goals.
Review Your Insurance Needs
Protect your assets and income potential with appropriate insurance. Review policies annually and adjust coverage for life changes like marriage, a new home, or starting a family. Consider disability, health, home, auto, and life insurance tailored to your situation. While not fun, insurance prevents financial catastrophe in the event of unexpected loss.
How to Tell if You’re Financially Stable
Recognizing the signs of financial stability can empower you to make confident decisions. Here are some key indicators that can guide you on the path to financial wellness:
- Skill in money management and the creation of a personal budget
- Spending within your financial means
- Planning for long-term financial security, including savings and retirement accounts
- Recognizing money’s role in life without letting it define your self-worth
- Supporting charitable causes that you believe in
- Strategizing to repay student loans and other debts
- Understanding debt and devising ways to control it
- Fostering good credit habits
Free Access to a Professional Financial Counselor
At Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, we’re committed to your financial wellness. We partnered with GreenPath Financial Wellness, a national non-profit organization that provides financial counseling and education to individuals and families. All Jeanne D’Arc members get free access to GreenPath’s expert financial coaches.
This partnership provides personalized guidance on budgeting, debt management, and more. Caring counselors will assess you or your family’s complete financial picture and identify options to plan for a healthy future.
GreenPath’s certified experts offer debt counseling for credit cards and consumer debt. They also provide housing counseling for foreclosure prevention, homebuying, and student loans.
Take Control of Your Finances
Financial wellness is possible with the right help. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union offers tools, resources, and expert guidance to set you up for success. Click the link below to learn more about the financial wellness resources available.