Welcome to a new year and a new decade. If you have plans to improve your financial health and reach goals in 2020, we have tools and knowledge at Elevations to help you achieve them. Plus, our in-branch Financial Solutions Guides are always ready to assist you with these four steps and more ways to help you reach your goals.
1. Where’s your money going?
The first step in any financial plan is to know where your money is going. The Money Management tool in Elevations Online Banking is an incredible resource for inputting and tracking all of your spending. If your finances are tight every month, this resource can help you understand and prioritize spending, so you aren’t anxiously waiting for the next paycheck to come in. Feel confident knowing where your money is going by tracking your spending and creating budgets.
2. Where can you save on your loans?
Next, you need to understand where money can be saved or better allocated. Just because you have a low interest rate on a loan doesn’t mean it’s the best product for your financial situation. There are many loan types available. Understanding the real cost of your borrowed money can help you know if you have the right loan product. A Financial Solutions Guide can review your credit and uncover whether or not it might make sense to roll over a loan or consolidate it into one core product. Although many people think it’s all about saving money on interest, it’s also equally essential to increase cash flow by lowering total monthly payments.
3. How can you improve your credit?
If you need to improve your credit an Elevations Financial Solutions Guide can review your credit reports with you and recommend ways to improve your credit going forward. Secured lending products such as a secured credit card or secured personal loan are great options to help you start to rebuild credit. These options can have looser credit requirements to obtain them. Elevations Online Banking also has a FICO® score tool, which is a great free feature to see where your credit is. Your Financial Solutions Guide can also refer you to a credit counseling service to assist you if needed.
4. How can you grow your money?
Once all your liabilities have been sorted out and fully understood, it’s time to figure out where your money can grow. While most savings accounts and CDs currently don’t pay much of a dividend, it’s essential to have liquidity in your finances. Liquidity allows you to access money should the need arise without having to pay a penalty or wait for a funds transfer. It’s a good rule of thumb to have a comfortable amount in savings that is determined based on your individual needs, which is typically three to six months’ of funds for essential expenses. If you’re starting from scratch, set up automatic transfers into your savings to build up money over time.
Money that you don’t need in this emergency fund can be allocated for other goals, like retirement or saving for college. Again, setting up automatic deposits that go into your savings as soon as you get paid is one way to chip away at these goals. Elevations members also get a free first consultation with our CFS* Wealth Management advisors, who can provide you with actionable guidance as you consider investing, retirement planning, saving for college and more.
Want to learn more? Meet with one of our in-house Financial Solutions Guides to better understand the core fundamentals of financial wellbeing. This team can also tailor products and services to your unique needs, even if that product or service isn’t with Elevations. We build trust with our membership through open and honest recommendations, and one of our favorite parts of the job is guiding you toward a prosperous future. Find a branch near you and meet with a Financial Solutions Guide today.
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Elevations Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.