Do you need a Financial Checkup?
Ideally, you go to the doctor for a yearly check up, you visit the dentist twice a year, the eye doctor and so forth. But, your physical health isn’t the only aspect of your life where a checkup can be useful. Unfortunately, many of us leave our financial health neglected. Taking a little time each year to set goals and prioritize your financial health can be very rewarding and have an overall positive impact on your wellness.
Each year, we celebrate Financial Confidence Month in April here at Virginia Credit Union. We focus even more intensely with our members and employees on the importance of financial wellness and offer guidance and support with online tools and activities. It also reminds me to take some time to assess my own finances and check up on my financial wellness.
So, why is a Financial Checkup so important?
Think back to a year ago. What financial burdens have been added or relieved since then? A lot of life can happen in 12 months like a new baby or going from two incomes to one and you may not be in the same financial place you were before. For example, this time last year we purchased a new house which increased the mortgage payment, but my daughter moved up in her class at daycare and the cost decreased. Things fluctuate and change and many times we forget that our budget is constantly evolving.
Set new goals.
Are you saving enough for retirement? Do you want to start a Christmas fund? Planning a big family trip? Checking in on your finances lets you know what you need to work on as well as what it’s going to take to meet your next financial goal. Last year, at this time we were hyper focused on selling our home and finding our forever home with our growing family. This year, we have a new goal to save for a car that has AC before the dreaded Richmond summer heat sets in.
Taking the time to reflect on financial accomplishments and set new goals for the future will help keep them at the top your mind and with a check up it will likely increase your chances of meeting that financial goal.
Evaluate your budget.
With our new home purchase came an unexpected surprise of a significant decrease in our energy bill. With energy efficient appliances and an updated well-built home we increased the size of our home but a lower energy bill was a pleasant surprise. Use this time to find out where you now have wiggle room and if you have any room in your budget to pay down debts. And on the flipside if added expenses have put gaps in your budget evaluate if there is anything you can do to help. Refinance your car, cut cable or end the gym membership while the weather is nice.
So where to begin?
A good first step is an assessment of where you stand financially. This month we introduced the Virginia Credit Union Financial Checkup. It’s online and takes just minutes to complete. It can help you find out where you stand financially and offers up to 200 online financial education modules to help you on the path to increase your financial wellness.