PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - As we begin a new year many of us will be scheduling our Annual Physical Exams to assess our physical health and determine ways to improve. We will have our blood pressure checked as well as our height and weight to find out if we are fit physically. Those numbers will guide us to develop a plan to improve our overall health.
Financial Educator Counselor Sylvia Watson from BayPort Credit Union stopped by to tell us why this is the ideal time to create our financial fitness plan.
-Cash Flow Statement - How much money is going out on a monthly basis compared to the amount of money coming in? Is this a positive or negative amount?
-Net Worth Statement - What is the total value of everything you own (assets: balance in your accounts, value of your home, car, retirement accounts etc.) minus the total of what you owe (debt: balance on credit card, car loans, mortgage balance etc.)? If you sold everything you owned and paid off what you owe is this a positive or negative figure?
-Copy of your Credit Report and Credit Score - Know what is in your credit report and ensure that the information is accurate. Get your credit score to assess your credit risk in the eyes of lenders.
Know what your numbers are in key areas:
-How much are you saving? The rule of thumb is that we should save at least 10% of our net monthly income. Are you saving perhaps 5%, 3% or even 1%?
How much unsecured debt (loans with no collateral: credit cards, personal loans) do you have? We should not be paying more than 10% of our net monthly income in unsecured debt.
-What is your credit score? Ideally you want to be in the "700 club" with your score to get the best possible rates. If you had challenges in the past set a goal of 640 to get a decent interest rate when borrowing.
-Make small changes to improve your overall financial health:
-Increase your savings by 1% (emergency fund or 401k contribution).
-Pay an extra $10.00/month to get out of debt.
-Pay your loans by automatic deduction a couple of days before the due date.
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