According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, about half of non-retired adults say the economic impact of the pandemic will make it harder for them to achieve their financial goals. The good news is there are steps you can take today to help you get ahead.
If you’ve recently received a stimulus check or are expecting a tax refund, now could be a great time to consider how to best use this additional money.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
CATCH UP ON DEBT PAYMENTS. It’s always important to start with the necessities, especially catching up on missed payments if you are past due on any debts. Next, pay your current bills. Lastly, consider pre-paying for future expenses such as child care, oil changes, new tires, property taxes, car taxes, health savings plans, dental care or other basics you know you or your family will need in the coming months.
SAVE FOR THE FUTURE. Visit a local financial institution to talk to a professional about your goals. Many community-based credit unions and banks will be glad to discuss your financial situation one-on-one and offer helpful advice. A trusted financial institution also is the best place to start a savings account and/or create a secondary savings account for a specific purpose, such as holiday expenses or a family vacation.
LEVEL UP. If you already have adequate emergency savings, you may want to consider pursuing new goals such as enhancing your knowledge and skills by taking a course or even starting your own business. Take time to consider your longer-term financial dreams. Perhaps your next goal involves saving for a down payment on a new home or starting an education fund for yourself or your children.
PLAN TO RETIRE COMFORTABLY. The younger you start saving for retirement, the better. There are many free online resources, including retirement calculators, available to help you plan for how much you’ll need to retire more comfortably. Some local institutions even offer free consultations with investment advisors. Check with your credit union or bank to take the first step or evaluate your existing plan.
STICK TO YOUR PLANS. Write down your specific goals and tell supportive people in your life about your plans. This can help you stay on track and ensure you’re able to achieve your financial goals. Weekly check-ins and creating calendars or boards may also help remind you about what you’re working toward. Remember, setbacks happen but they usually are only temporary. Don’t quit.