April is Financial Literacy Month!Apr 13, 2022
Try to contain your enthusiasm as you consider the possibilities! Tax refunds! Budget updates! Retirement checkups!
Can you feel the excitement!?
…It’s okay if not. You are not alone!
But since money is a topic that isn’t going away, we have a quick, painless list for you to check off before April ends. Spending 30 minutes here can set you up for success the whole rest of 2022! To make it easy, we’ve broken it into five easy steps:
- Know what you have
- Create an automatic tracking system
- Review your goals for the future
- Learn something new
- Seek help from a professional
1. Know What You Have
It’s easy to lose track of all the moving parts of your financial picture. Most of our day-to-days are filled with all different types of chaos and fires to put out. Even if it’s good chaos like getting kids to games and enjoying family parties, it still leaves other less-urgent things pushed to simmer on the back burner.
To make the rest of your financial year go more smoothly, take 30 minutes out of your week to look at everything related to your finances. This includes:
- List of assets (everything you OWN) with current balances
- Bank accounts, other savings accounts
- Retirement and other investing accounts
- Insurance policies
- Car & home assets w/ estimated current values
- List of debts (everything you OWE) with current balances
- Credit Cards
- Car Payments
- Student Loans
- Medical or Other debt Payments
- List of everything with a recurring payment:
- Debt payments (see above)
- Bills (energy, water, etc.)
- Subscriptions (lawn care, Netflix, fitness)
- Breakdown of the income you expect to make this year
- Earned income from jobs
- Tax returns
- Bonuses or refunds
- Gifts or inheritances
2. Create a Tracking System
We’re all human, and humans get tired and busy. The fortunate thing about living in 2022 is that just about everything is automatically done for you. Take advantage of this when it comes to your finances. The existing systems may not be as perfect as the one you’d create for yourself, but they do the work for you.
Our main preference for tracking your spending, saving, and investing is Mint.com. It’s free and covers everything you need automatically. Sign up for an account, link your existing financial accounts and keep living your life. Very soon you will have a good picture of what your habits are.
3. Review Your Goals for the Future
A goal without a plan is just a wish! What are those bucket-list items you could reasonably accomplish in this next year? What about within the next five? If you’re in a relationship, get on the same page about these goals. Here is a couples priority list that can help you.
Let’s say you know you’ll need a newer car within the next three years. Taking out a new car loan at that time is an option, but what if you could set aside that would-be car payment amount in your own account these next three years? While this takes discipline and foresight, it gives you a car in three years that is completely YOURS with no monthly payments or “donations” in interest payments to the bank. Can you imagine how good it would feel to drive away in that car with no strings (aka payments) attached?
4. Learn Something New
Chances are, there is something financially related that you should have learned in high school and didn’t. This is not your fault! But learning now is your responsibility, and your financial life depends on it!
Think of it this way, educating yourself is going to not only help your life, it is going to help generations coming after you. Imagine the struggles you have gone through financially. What if you can eliminate some of those for the younger generation? Whether these are your children or just people you inspire, educating yourself can have a multiplying impact for generations to come.
Get excited about what financial literacy can do for you AND those you inspire. It is extremely powerful.
Take advantage of free resources online. We recommend Two Cents on YouTube and the podcast Life Kit Money.
5. Seek Help from a Professional
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed as you tackle these steps, you don’t have to do this alone! Seek help from professionals. This does not have to cost you an arm and a leg, nor do you need to commit your life to a financial advisor.
Knowing some of the hesitations and concerns that are common when hiring a financial advisor, we at Abundance have set up a program that empowers you to be DIY savers and investors for your future. We do not sell investment products (like insurance or annuities), so you can trust that the advice you are receiving is given with the best of intentions.
Since we want to help everyday working families, we make financial coaching packages affordable and concise. This saves you money AND time. Do this for yourself - it is an investment in you that will easily pay for itself many times over.
We are already more than a fourth of the way through 2022. Don’t let this year pass you by without investing in yourself. Let us know how following these steps goes for you! DM us on Instagram or message us on Facebook. You can also email us with questions or topics you would like for us to cover.
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