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10 Steps to Financial Success

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Financial success looks different for everyone. For some it’s building a bigger nest egg, for others it’s saving enough to buy their first car. However, life's ups and downs can often derail your financial journey. Don't worry, we're here to help! These practical steps offer a perfect opportunity to reassess your money habits and realign your finances.

Remember, financial success is not determined by the amount of money you make, rather how comfortable and in control of your financial situation you are.

1. Establish goals. What do you want to do with your money? A good model to follow is to make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-bound). Make a list and be honest with yourself about how much you want to save or how much you’ll need to pay down debt. Here’s a worksheet to help you get started.

2. Evaluate your current financial situation. When thinking about your finances, how do you feel? If thinking about your money makes your palms begin to sweat, you’re in the right place. It’s all about knowing where you stand, money-wise. A great place to start is getting your financial health score at

3. Create a spending and savings plan. Creating a budget is easier than you think. Sticking to that budget is a different story.  Check out this video where we give you guidelines to build a budget AND strategies to make that budget actually work.

4. Establish an emergency savings fund. Life rarely goes according to plan. When life gives you lemons, you’ll want a “rainy day fund” to fall back on. A good rule of thumb is to save three months’ worth of your net income. We broke down the specifics on emergency funds here: Plus, ways to make your savings “stick” in this video.

5. Seek advice and do research. It’s important to talk about money. Talk to your partner (maybe even plan a financial date night), check out resources, and if you need one-on-one counseling, we’re here to help! 

6. Make sure you’re covered. Insurance is in place to provide security if life doesn’t go according to plan. It’s important to review your insurance coverage periodically to ensure that you are adequately protected. If you're lucky you could find an opportunity to save money if you're over-covered or find a better quote.  Take this time to check in with your insurance policies and make sure you're covered and talk with Virginia CU Insurance Services if you're interested in comparing quotes.

7. Establish a good credit history. Your credit report is a record of your credit payment history. Before making a major purchase, like a car or a home, your credit report will be checked. Now’s a great time to make sure your credit habits are in-line with a what makes a good credit score. Learn more about your credit report here.

8. Delete your debt. Sometimes debt can feel like a mountain you’ll never finish climbing. But, if you have a comprehensive plan, it won’t seem so daunting. Check out our video to give you strategies to reduce your debt and start planning for the future. Watch now.

9. Buy a home. Have you been thinking about buying a home? Purchasing a home can be a great investment, and with a team of experts like ours, the process is not as complicated as you might think. We have a full suite of home buying resources, including articles like “How to Save for a Down Payment” and “Are You Ready to Buy a Home?” Dip your feet into the idea of homeownership!

10. Invest diversely. Take advantage of your employer’s retirement options, especially if they match contributions. Don't know where to start? Talk to one of the financial advisors at VACU Investment Group today!

We have a partnership with Ameriprise Financial Services to provide financial planning services and solutions to our clients. We are not an investment client of Ameriprise, but we have a revenue sharing relationship with them that creates a conflict of interest. Details on how we work together can be found on


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