While the holiday season is a wonderful time of year, it can also put financial strain on all of us going into the New Year. Below are some expert tips gathered from a number of sources for how you can improve your financial wellness:
- Set up monthly “money dates”
One of the smartest things we can do for our bottom line is simply reviewing our finances on a regular basis. Dedicate time each week or month and visit your bank and credit accounts, making sure you know how much money you have, how much you owe, and how much you spend.
- Make an emergency fund
Based on your income, try to save for one month of expenses. This should only be used for real emergencies such as issues with your house, bills or other true emergency situations. Keeping enough cash on hand for those emergencies will help you avoid leaning on credit cards and, ultimately, help you avoid financial disparity.
- Start (or keep) paying into that retirement fund
Try to save 15 percent of your income for retirement (based on what you can afford) and take advantage of the University’s matching contributions scheme. This is free money that can go right into your retirement fund. To learn more about the UniSaver superannuation scheme click here (UC staff only).
- Estate planning
Now is as good a time as any to confirm and update beneficiaries listed in your will or other estate planning document. UC is currently offering a free online will-writing service to staff, alumni and friends at www.ucfoundation/bequests. This doesn’t need to be your last Will and is no obligation to leave a charitable gift to the UC Foundation. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make sure your credit cards are offering useful rewards
You should only have one or two credit cards, which should be those that give you points or cash back on things you would otherwise pay for, like flights or hotels. If you don’t travel often, consider a card that you can earn points or cash back for on dining out or groceries. If you choose the cash back route, transfer the money directly to a savings account so you’re less likely to spend it. And make sure you’re not signing up for store credit cards — once you use the upfront promotion, they offer little value and high interest rates.
- Practice “Unsubscribe Sundays”
Take a few minutes every week to unsubscribe from the many promotional emails that clutter up your inbox as these can often tempt you to shop impulsively.
Amanda Clayman, financial wellness advocate
Brian Walsh, Manager of Financial Planning at SoFi
David Carter, Financial Advisor, New Zealand Financial Planning
Ande Frazier, CEO of MyWorth
Nicole Spector, a writer for www.nbcnews.com/better