As the new year kicks off, and with times that are uncertain, now is the best time to examine your Financial Wellness.
What is Financial Wellness?
Financial Wellness is how prepared you are for emergencies, retirement, school, and how easily you can pay your debts. How comfortable are YOU with your finances? If you’re reading this with anxiety, odds are you are like the millions of Americans who struggle with financial wellness daily. In fact, according to a study by Lending Tree, 40% of Americans were financially unprepared for the pandemic. 25% are expecting to retire later than planned, and more than half experienced financial difficulties. What percentage do you think you were in?
Many employers have Financial Wellness programs for their employees. These programs often include counseling and coaching for employees in budgeting, student loan repayment, debt reduction, emergency and short-term savings. Ask your employer about what services they offer. Employers looking to offer financial wellness programs should talk to their financial institution about different options. According to Securian.com, over 50% of employees say that financial issues have been a distraction at work. Offering different types of services to help with financial concerns can help productivity, project management, and overall service.
How to Prepare
One of the best and easiest ways you can empower your own financial wellness is to prepare. The more you have prepared for an unexpected event, loss of job, medical emergency, the more confident you will be with your finances to make it through a life event. Life will happen whether we are ready or not, how prepared are you and how can Banner Capital Bank help you become more prepared?
- Begin an emergency fund. You should have enough savings to cover at least 3-6 months of expenses. Setting up a transfer to automatically pull a specified amount out of your checking and put it into your savings with every paycheck is a great way to save a little each month with minimal impact to a monthly budget.
- Make a budget and stick to it. Budgeting can be intimidating however they can make a great difference. Banner Capital Bank has a budgeting tool built into our online banking that is easy to use and built right into your account. It is important to build “fun” into your budget. Working hard, and saving harder means its ok to still ensure your things that are rewarding to you into your budget. This will help you ensure you are sticking to your budget and are more successful overall.
- Create a Will. This will ensure that if a life event was to happen, your financial planning has covered your final affairs as well as leaving your loved ones in a better financial position. This is also something that can be referred to as Legacy Planning. Legacy Planning can be used for small estates all the way to large business and family farms or ranches. How will you plan your financial legacy? It’s best to visit with an attorney and have your wishes in writing.
- Be wary of schemes and fraud. Review any new “opportunities” with a fine-tooth comb. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never be too afraid to ask questions, never give your bank account information out. Banner Capital Bank will not ask for your bank account number. If you get a call from the bank that comes from an odd number, call your local branch to verify it. Fraud happens every day and there are always new and evolving ways that fraud can happen. Potential fraud can occur by mail, phone, email, text message, or through a messenger platform. Stay alert, ask questions, and be careful.
- Start a retirement fund. Start saving today! It is never too early to start planning for your retirement. There are many different ways to start saving for a retirement. Educate yourself and your family on the best options for you. You can open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at any Banner Capital Bank branch for as little as $100.00. Take advantage of employer-matching programs. Many employers will match any contribution you make to your retirement fund, doubling your savings
- Pay down debt. If you are overwhelmed with high interest rates, look into a debt consolidation loan, or a consolidation education program. The goal is to create an end for you as a consumer to show you when you can have your debts paid down and paid off. If you do not want to do a consolidation loan or do not qualify you can always educate yourself on how to alleviate debts, such as the snowball effect.
Banner Capital Bank offers a variety of options to help empower your financial lives. We can help you save for rough times, and provide assistance when funds are a little tighter than expected, help educate you on finances, and help get you on the right track to financial wellness. Contact your local branch to see what tools can assist you best.