What do the Categories Mean?
- Do you set up a monthly budget that you and your family? Do I have a financial plan in place for next year?
- Living within Your Means
- Do I practice healthy spending? Do I make more then I spend?
- Savings for Retirement
- Do I put money away each month into a retirement account? Do I have a 401k or IRA set up? Do I have a college plan for myself or my children?
- Material Needs are Met
- Am I able to keep food on the table? Do my utility bills get paid on time every month? Is my home safe, warm, and secure?
- Happy with your Income
- Am I making the money that I need? Are my needs, wants, and savings goals being met with my current income?
- Out of Debt
- Am I out of debt? Am I making payments or having payment arrangements with all of my creditors?
- Emergency Fund is Sufficient
- Do I have a 3-6 months cash emergency fund in place? Is put away safely in a savings or money market account?
- Will in Place
- Is my will up-to-date and accurate? Does my family know where to find all of my critical information?
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Looking for Ideas to improve your Financial Wellness?
There are many ways to establish a budget for you and/or your family. One simple way is to set up a pyramid where 50% of your take-home pay goes towards your needs (such as housing, transportation, food, childcare, insurance, etc). Then 30% goes to things that we want and the fun activities we want. The last 20% should be set aside for savings. The savings could go towards retirement, college, irregular spending (such as vacation or home down payment), or to paying off debt.
Another approach is to establish a zero-based budget where every dollar has a name. There are many great resources available to help you take this first step.
So take action and
- Set up a monthly budget for you and your family;
- Stick to your budget;
- Read books on money management;
- Sit down and create the budget with your significant other;
- Take a class such as "Financial Peace University" by Dave Ramsey; and
- Include giving funding to charity in your budget.
Living within Your Means
- Pay at least the minimum monthly payment on all of your bills on time;
- Make sure to have excellent medical coverage-whatever that means to you;
- Get insurance for your larger assets;
- Be happy with what you have and not focus on what your neighbor has; and
- Save up and pay cash for big expenses.
Savings for Retirement/ColLEGE
- If your work offers a 401k and are matching your contributions-take advantage of it!
- Save at least 15% of my income;
- Complete a retirement calculator to see how much you should be saving to reach your retirement goals; and
- Create a vision board for your financial goals.
Material Needs are Met
- Make sure a budget is put in place which allows sufficient money to go towards meeting the basic needs of yourself and your family; and
- Make a list of what you essential needs are and what they cost?
Happy with your Income
- Adopt a mindset of abundance;
- Allow yourself to be appropriately and highly compensated for your work; and
- Evaluate how much you are worth, financially speaking.
Out of Debt
- Pay down credit card debt;
- Focus on paying cash for all expenses; and
- First, get out of all debt that is not a home mortgage.
Emergency Fund is Sufficient
A credit card is NOT an emergency fund. An emergency fund is cash that is put away in savings at the bank or in a money market account that is available for true emergencies.
- Ideally, get an emergency fund established that can cover 3-6 months of your expenses;
- Get $1,000 in place as soon as possible; and
- Put extra savings away into your emergency fund, paying off debts, savings for irregular expenses, and then retirement and college savings.
Will in Place
- Get a will in place;
- Set up a living will (medical directive) and power of attorney;
- Establish a file with key contact information, account info, and passwords for your relatives; and
- Make sure all of your tax returns have been filed and all taxes paid.