Happy New Year! We want to wish you a year filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.
Prosperity? Yes. It's a goal that's within the grasp of all of us, no matter our income level. But to reach prosperity, we need to do some honest analysis of our spending, set goals and put our money to work for us. After all, we work for our money, so why shouldn't it work for us?
Right now some of us are feeling the aftershock of the holidays. It's not hard to be surprised when you count up the dollars you've spent on gifts, decorations, parties and other holiday treats.
That's why so many Americans spend January and February with a case of the post-holiday financial blues. It can take a long time to get back to financial health — especially if a lot of the holidays were funded with your credit card.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just pay off those bills and avoid such “sticker shock” in 2014?
Setting a budget and saving are the keys. But, overall, we Americans seem to struggle with both saving and budgeting.
A recent survey by Allianz Life found that 30% of us aren't saving at all.
And, while 24% of us are saving, we aren't putting away as much as we could.
When it comes to budgeting, we're not doing much better:
- 18% of us don't even have a budget
- 18% spend more than we make
- 12% of us pay bills late
- 10% make minimum credit card payments
Isn't it time to get smarter about your finances and head down the road to prosperity?
The first step in making a commitment is to set up a budget. First Reliance Bank can help.
We've got some easy-to-use, free tools that will help you to track where your money comes from and, perhaps even more importantly, where it's going every month.
Check out these tips on how to manage your money and the worksheets on how to set up a personal and family budget. We also have a short video that will take your through the process.
There are also free online tools like mint.com that can help you to manage your money, so that it's easier to identify areas where you can save. Because the next step on the road to prosperity begins with savings.
Why not get in the habit of paying yourself first?
Set up a savings account (or several) with the help of your personal banker at First Reliance. Designate specific accounts for your various saving goals like vacations, college or emergencies. (You can organize your accounts by using online banking to name each account so you don’t get confused! Just go to the Options tab and click on the word Accounts in the menu.)
Make saving a breeze by setting up automatic transfers of funds from your checking account to your savings accounts on designated days that work best for your budget. You'll soon find that you don't even miss the money you're investing. And, before you know it, you'll be reaping the rewards of compound interest and watching your money grow!
You can build up those savings even more by becoming an “impulse saver” and using the transfer feature of online banking.
Say you’re with the kids at the soccer field and have a few minutes to spare before the game starts. You know that you have a few extra dollars you want to put into one of your savings accounts. All you have to do is use your phone to log into online banking and transfer your funds. Boom! Now that's easy saving.
There's no better feeling than knowing you're prepared to meet any financial need — whether it's funding that dream vacation or replacing the water heater.
Why not start your journey down the road to prosperity today?
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