10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Financial Wellness

money bag

1. Have a budget and stick to it. Click here for a guide: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/06/03/a-guide-to-creating-your-ideal-household-budget

2. Divide the money you are not investing (we’ll get to that later) between a free checking account (the money you will need to cover your weekly and monthly bills) and a high-interest savings account (the emergency fund, 3-6 months of your salary.) Here’s an emergency fund calculator: http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/calculators/calculate/emergencyFund.php?calcCategory=budget

3. Pay off the full balance of your credit card monthly (don’t spend more than you can pay for) and make sure you are earning something extra for using that credit card, like miles or cash back. Here is a site the compares credit cards: http://www.nerdwallet.com/the-best-credit-cards

4. If you have had trouble paying off the full balance of your credit cards each month, don’t use them unless you have to (say, to rent a car) and instead use a bank debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo. This will help you to only spend what you have.

5. Have a savings plan. Between money for an emergency plan, money for retirement, and then the possibility of additional funds for investments, college, etc.—money is easier to come by little by little than in huge lump sums. Saving could mean you have to give up cable, a newer car, eating lunch out, or even making sure you don’t waste money by throwing away food, but the security is worth it in the long run. Here is an article about the ways Americans waste money they could be saving: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/03/24/20-ways-we-blow-our-money/6826633/

6. Realize finances are based on math and not magic. Not addressing a financial issue and hoping it will work out, is generally a poor practice. Here is a list of things that are more likely than you winning the lottery (Note, the list includes visiting the ER for a pogo stick injury and being a U.S. president): http://moneyminiblog.com/interesting/things-more-likely-happen-winning-lottery/

7. Have health insurance. Not only is it a law in the United States, but a typical emergency room visit can cost between $100 and $1,500 (http://health.costhelper.com/emergency-room.html). As if that’s not bad enough, there are hundreds of stories on the Internet that mirror the “$24,000 for a sprained ankle” snafu.

8. While you’re at it, get home owner’s or renter’s insurance. Why? Stuff happens that you can’t control. Also, as stated in #5: Money is easier to come by little by little than in huge lump sums.

9. If you do go into debt, and want help getting out of debt, consult this government site for selecting a reputable credit counseling agency: http://www.usa.gov/topics/money/credit/debt/out-of-control.shtml

10. Remember, living a “well” life is about balance. This includes balancing our “needs” with our “wants.” It involves controlling the things we can control in preparation for the things that are out of our control. And, when things go south and you find yourself unable to manage, it is about reaching out and finding help to get yourself back on track.

Posted by the National Wellness Institute.

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