Are you ready to be in the best shape of your life? Well you already look fabulous, so let’s talk about financial health. Don’t stop reading just because this topic doesn’t seem to fit as well as your yoga pants, these money must-reads will set you up for the long term—which means more funds for fun, fitness and even those new shoes you’ve been eyeing!
Go back to the basics with four simple strategies for starting (and maintaining!) a healthy financial life.
The first step is the most essential, make a budget. Knowing what your income is and setting up a plan is key to beginning to build your financial future right now. Track your expenses to find out what you are REALLY spending and what you’re spending it on. This way you’ll see where to trim back, so you’re able to pay off any debt and start saving.
With your budget in mind, it’s time to choose the right checking account and you’re going to want one that works with your lifestyle. Compare different features to decide what you need, like online and mobile banking, a debit card, easy ATM access and more. . With online and mobile banking, it makes it easier for you to keep your finances on track.
Another way to work toward financial health is to start saving for a home. But before you pick out paint colors, a little planning is in order. And number one on your to-do list is check your credit. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide reporting companies. So, get yours now and look for any mistakes like unpaid or collection accounts, this will give you enough time to work through any unforeseen issues. Then revisit your budget to take a deeper look at your cash flow so you can begin saving for the down payment.
The next step is to try and determine how much house you can afford. A standard rule is that your monthly housing payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) should not take up more than 28 percent of your monthly income. You don’t want to overextend yourself because your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’ve purchased out of your comfort zone. And when you buy, you want to feel good about where you are with your income and debts.
And lastly, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement, even a small contribution now can make a big impact on the type of lifestyle you’ll have in retirement —just get started, that is the most important thing.
Want to know more? Check out U.S. Bank for all the personal finance tips and strategies you need to power your potential.