3 Steps for Financial Success

Whether you have plans to buy a home, pay off debt or build your savings for long-term stability, a little planning can go a long way in ensuring you are successful.

Here are the top three steps you can follow in order to get your finances in order:

Step 1: Check Your Credit - frequently!

Go to annualcreditreport.com to download your credit report from each credit bureau for free, once per year. (Tip: Stagger your free download allocation across the 3 credit bureaus, across the year in order to have a free report at 3 different times in a 12 month period.) If you haven’t checked your credit in the past twelve months, use this opportunity to review the reports. This will help you understand where your credit stands and if you have any negative items, such as missed payments, that could be decreasing your score. Reviewing your credit will help you plan ahead, particularly if you plan on applying for a new loan or credit card. 

Step 2: Review Your Debts

Be proactive! Check the current balance and APR of your debts, loans and credit cards. If you have credit card debt totaling more than $5,000, consider a credit card balance transfer to a WCTFCU Visa Credit Card (as low as 2.99%APR on transferred amount to new Visa card, no transfer fees!). 

You can consolidate your debt with a lower-interest rate loan. If you owe more than $10,000 talk to a WCTFCU Loan Officer about taking a personal debt consolidation loan or discuss with them, the options for using your existing equity, if you are a homeowner. Lower rates can lower your monthly payment and reduce the total cost of paying off your debt. Check out our Debt Consolidation Calculator, and Credit Card Debt Reduction Calculator, and Loan Comparison Calculator.

Step 3: Your Budget

Review your budget; how do you spend your money? Ideally, you should only spend about 75% of your take-home income. That gives you plenty of free cash flow to cover unexpected expenses. 

Set up your budget. Make sure you have a WCTFCU Savings Account with direct deposit of  your paycheck, so you can begin separating your savings from your cashflow, before it all gets spent! If possible, start by saving about 5-10% of your income each month. Siphon it off to a Saving Account to stash it away. Set targets to reach and reward yourself! To hit your goal, work savings into your budget as an expense– like a bill that must be paid. This will help ensure that you save money consistently throughout the year.

Source: edited from original @ nafcuservices.com