The start of the new year is the perfect time to set realistic goals for achieving a personal monetary balance and a more secure financial future. Take control of your finances in 2022 by following three simple steps.
Even those earning a high income, can still struggle if not fiscally proactive. Begin tracking monthly spending by monitoring all transactions through your bank’s website or mobile app. This will allow for the identification of your own spending habits. First identify needs (rent, car payment, groceries), next recognize your wants (dining out, entertainment, vacation) and finally establish a savings (for emergencies separate from a checking account used for bill pay). The formula for proper budgeting allows 50 percent of your income for “needs”, 30 percent for “wants” and 20 percent for “savings”. It is imperative that you calculate for each specific budgeting area.
Save for Emergencies
Unforeseen expenditures such as emergency home and auto repairs, business equipment, or medical expenses can completely disrupt a household or business budget. For that reason, an emergency savings account is a must. It stabilizes funds for “needs”, protects your money for “wants” and avoids the creation of credit card debt. An emergency fund should include a six-month total of your daily expenses. Calculate the amount of your take-home salary you can safely afford to allocate each month to reach the “savings” goal you have preplanned and set it up as an automatic monthly deposit into a separate savings account. Once your savings balance reaches $1000 or more, you may consider moving the funds into a money market account to take advantage of higher interest rates.
Pay Down Your Debt
High-interest debt may be one of the biggest roadblocks to attaining personal financial goals. To avoid barriers, set up a debt-payment plan for 2022 and remain diligent on its implementation. It’s vital to your financial future. First, identify which debt products have the highest interest rates. Make extra payments beyond the minimums due for those identified. For example, if your highest-interest debt is a credit card at 15% interest and your balance is $1000 with a minimum payment of $20, you may decide to pay $100 per month toward this debt, while continuing to make the minimum payments on other lower interest debt arrangements. Once you’ve paid off this debt, you move on to the next-highest-interest product and continue this process until all are paid in full or minimized.
These goals represent the basic building blocks of gaining control of your 2022 finances. It will take time, effort and dedication, but success on achieving these goals one step at a time will motivate you to continue your efforts. Once you take control, you can vary your goals for “wants” or “savings” at your own discretion. Start with a plan to budget your income, save for emergencies and pay down your debt. Best wishes for a prosperous 2022!
By: Nicholas J. Pantilione,
Senior Vice President & Chief Lending Officer, Parke Bank
For questions, contact Nicholas Pantilione at email@example.com