8 Ways to Jump Start Your 2020 Financial Resolutions
It’s officially 2020, which means the start of a new year and decade. At Launch, we’re always thinking of ways we can help our members improve their financial well being, especially at the start of a new year. This is also something on the minds of many Americans as a new year starts and resolutions are made. According to a recent Fidelity Investments survey, 67% of Americans plan to make a financial resolution this year, including reducing personal debt and saving more. If you share some of these same goals, we’ve outlined a few steps to jump start your 2020 financial resolutions.
1. Identify your financial goals
Do you see yourself in a new house, car, or boat? Do you want to reduce your debt? Are you saving for your kids to attend college? Or maybe you want to go back to school. Everyone has different financial goals so it’s important to name yours so you can create a unique plan.
2. Track Your Money
This is an important first step to take before creating your budget. Take the time to analyze your bank and credit card statements to see where your money is going. Find out what you spend your money on, where financial leaks are happening, and what specific amounts you need to spend on each category (groceries, gas, bills, etc.)
3. Create A Budget
Once you’ve taken the time to track your spending habits, you can create a budget. There are several ways you can create a budget, but first start by creating a list of your monthly expenses including bills, groceries, gas, etc. Divide these into fixed (steady expenses) and variable (fluctuating expenses.) Once these are done you can compare your income to your spend and create a budget from there. The Balance has a step-by-step process on how to create a budget. Another great tool to understanding your budget is by using one of Launch’s financial calculators. These can help you determine if you should refinance a loan, how to save for a big item, and how long your retirement savings will last.
4. Pay off Debt
A huge financial goal for many people is to decrease personal debt. There are various methods to decreasing your debt including “avalanche” and “snowball” methods. The avalanche method starts by making extra payments towards high interest loans first. The snowball method focuses on paying smaller debts first. Refinancing can also be a helpful way to reduce debt, especially if you’re dealing with high interest rates. Another option is balance transfer. Take the high interest rate balance from your current credit card and transfer it to a lower rate credit card. Launch offers free balance transfer when you become a Launch VISA platinum credit card holder. We also offer a special 2.90* introductory rate for new card holders.
5. Improve Credit Score
A high credit score can open many financial doors. A great credit score helps you to obtain low interest rate loans and credit cards. Your score also helps you reach new home, car, and boat goals. Credit scores can be confusing so Launch outlined why your score is critical. Ways to increase your credit score include paying bills on-time, keeping your credit card amount below 30% of your credit limit, and disputing inaccuracies.
6. Automate Payments
Now that you have a budget, it’s time to automate your monthly payments. This way make on-time payments while improving your credit score. If you’re a Launch member, we offer a BillPayer service through our Digital Banking Suite. You can also set up recurring transfers and loan payments.
7. Start An Emergency Fund
You never know when disaster will strike, so be prepared. Experts suggest keeping between three and six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. You can start setting aside funds weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly depending on your budget. A quick way to start is by setting aside your tax return funds.
8. Financial Education
Increase your personal financial expertise so you can learn tips and tricks from experts. Once you know more you’ll be able to come up with suggestions unique to your situation. Try reading more articles, listening to a podcast, or attending a seminar. Launch provides free seminars in Volusia and Brevard County throughout the year. Look for our upcoming credit score and mortgage seminars in January, February, and March. You can also check out our glossary of financial terms.
American businessman and author Robert Kiyosaki said it best: “Financial freedom is freedom from fear.” If you have questions about achieving your 2020 financial goals stop by any of our Launch branches, call us, or visit our website.