With the winding down of the “new year” and tax season straight ahead, most of us have our finances and money on our minds. That is why we asked Financial Architect’s Asalyn Coachman to give us some pointers in a guest blog as we move through the start of this year. Here’s what she has to say:
1. Know Your Credit Worthiness
Once a year, your free credit report is available at annualcreditreport.com. This is a statement of your credit history, but not the actual credit score. Review the report to make sure there are no errors. To find out your free FICO score, there are several options, including credit karma and Discover.
2. Track Your Spending
It may not sound like fun, but tracking your spending for one month will show where those dollars are really going. If you are having trouble reaching your financial goals, it may be all those little incidentals that are adding up. Knowledge is power, so face the reality of how much you are spending.
3. Don’t Count on a Bonus or Refund
Many of us hope to get a tax refund or a bonus at work, but spending it before it arrives can lead to problems. Plan your spending as if you are not getting this extra boost in income. When and if it does arrive, be strategic about where it can do the most good– saving, debt payment, etc.
4. Set Up Automatic Payments
Just one late payment can adversely affect your credit score, so put as many payments on an automatic schedule as possible. Deposits to your savings should also be scheduled to occur automatically so you always pay yourself.
5. Take a Big Financial Goal and Turn it into Mini-Goals
If this is the year you want to build your savings, decide how much you would like to have in savings at the end of the year. Then break that number down into a monthly or weekly amount so the goal does not seem so overwhelming. Saving $5,000.00 by the end of the year sounds like a lot until you think of it as $96.00 a week! Make a plan and hold yourself to it.
Asalyn Coachman is a financial advisor at Financial Architects, Inc. This article was prepared for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please be mindful of the fact that everybody’s financial and legal situations are different and there is no “one size fits all” approach. If you are looking for legal or financial advice, please contact a competent professional in your geographic location.