The best way to avoid stress is to have a plan.
Written by Valley of the Sun United Way
Published on Oct 9, 2013
Especially when it comes to finances, it’s important to plan ahead. While sometimes overwhelming, a few simple strategies can help you quickly improve your financial stability and regain control of your future.
So where to start? Financial planning experts offer a few suggestions:
A Few Financial Tips:
Know your end goal. Are you saving for a home? Do you want to finish paying off student loans? Keeping your eye on the prize will help you stick to your financial plan when you’re tempted to spend money unwisely.
Set short-term goals. Little milestones along the way are a rewarding way to celebrate every little success between now and your end goal.
Keep track of all spending. When you see the numbers on paper, it makes it more obvious where your spending priorities lie. It also makes it easier to shape your budget, and can be a reality check for certain areas that drain too much of your money.
Live within your means. The old adage to spend less than you make is a wise piece of advice. Don’t buy things you can’t afford, even if you use credit and think you can pay it off later. Debt adds up quickly.
Talk to an expert. If you don’t know where to start, consult with a financial planning expert. They can help you create a plan, set goals and choose savings plans that work best for your situation.
Create a spending plan. Write it all down (or type it) and keep it somewhere easily accessible to be regularly reminded of your strategy.
Set up an emergency fund. No matter how well you plan, setbacks occur. Putting part of each paycheck into an emergency fund will ensure that you’re not left high and dry when unforeseeable situations arise.
Plan B, C, D and E. If there’s one thing you can depend on in life, it’s change. Be flexible with your plan and have some back-up ideas if your income and spending don’t pan out the way you first expected.
Involve trusted family & friends. While still being careful about how much of your personal financial information you divulge to whom, it can help to let trusted family and friends know about your long-term strategy. Vocalizing your goals also helps keep you accountable.
One Mother’s Story
To learn how powerful financial planning can be, watch Bernadette’s story here. She represents so many lives that are transformed with increased financial self-sufficiency.
Note: United Way is not a tax advisor. As with any financial recommendation, contact a qualified financial planning expert for advice for your situation.
Twyla Marcrum is Vice President of Corporate Relations at Valley of the Sun United Way. She has 18 years of experience in the non-profit sector and is a proud wife and mother.