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The Simplest Way to Financial Fitness

There are many approaches to setting and reaching your financial goals, but keeping it simple is always a sure way to make progress. Follow these easy-to-implement guidelines to help kick-start your financial plans.

Budget

Start by comparing your income to your current expenses. Create a spreadsheet to see how much you bring in and spend. If money is tight, use this spreadsheet to see which non-essential costs you can cut back on.

Reduce Debt

Watch how you use credit cards. You are overspending if you can’t pay off the balances in full each month. To avoid high-interest payments, try to live at or below your means and curb your credit card usage. This will decrease your debt and help you qualify for lower-interest credit cards and loans in the future.

Save for Emergencies

How much should you be saving in an emergency fund? Financial experts suggest stashing three to six months of take-home pay in a savings account. That can take time to build up, and you may need to use your savings for emergencies while adding to it. Still, you'll reach your goal if you consistently put aside at least 5% of your take-home pay, using tools like payroll deduction or automated transfers.

Create a Nest Egg

If your employer offers a 401(k), invest a percentage of your pay into your 401(k) that equals what your employer will match. Anything less, and you're giving up free money. Ideally, contribute the maximum your employer allows into your 401(k).

If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) or you are self-employed, look at other options, like a traditional IRA, a Roth, or a Simplified Employee Pension IRA.

Get Insurance

Buying adequate insurance for your health, car, and home (or renters’ insurance) is a good investment. It will protect your finances against high medical costs, damages due to car accidents, and losses to your personal property.

First Florida Credit Union wants to help you become financially fit. Browse our featured articles, like 5 Ways to Enjoy Credit Card Benefits and Keep More of Your Moneyor Why a Will Should be a Part of Your Financial Plan, that offer suggestions to help you meet your financial goals.