During uncertain economic times, it’s common to take stock of your financial situation and look for areas of improvement. A few basic management rules can improve your financial times and not-so-good times.
Building an emergency fund creates a financial cushion when faced with unexpected expenses, such as major car repairs. Consider setting aside enough savings to cover three to six months of living expenses. Keep your emergency funds in an account that can be accessed relatively quickly if needed, such as a savings or money market account.
Pay Down Debt
Not all debt is bad debt, but paying high interest on debt is a bad idea. If funds allow, make extra payments on high interest loans so more money goes toward principle. Once you pay off a debt, start putting that money directly into savings each month. There won’t be a change in cash fl ow and you’ll be earning interest, instead of paying interest.
Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates
Look into the option of refinancing your home mortgage to take advantage of low interest rates. At the same time, check the rates being offered by your bank and a few competitors. If your money is sitting in a low-rate checking or savings account, consider moving it to a higher-yielding alternative, such as a money market account.
Maximize Your Benefits
When electing next year’s employee benefits, consider taking advantage of all the additional perks being offered beyond health insurance and vacation time. These might include flexible-spending accounts, retirement savings match or discount health screenings. Not only can these programs lower some expenses, but in terms of retirement savings, it could mean more money down the road.
Tips brought to you by Farm Bureau Financial Services. For more information about products and services, call Shane Blanchard at 515 528 2319.
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