7 Key Questions to Ask About Your Finances
Your finances are much more than your monthly bills and account statements. They reflect your day-to-day needs, long-term goals, and overall relationship with your money. Because your finances are constantly changing, financial habits that worked last year might need some adjustments this year. Staying financially healthy is a lifelong process.
It’s a good idea to do a midyear financial checkup. Think of it as an informal self-review of your personal finances that will help you determine how effectively you’re spending, saving, and managing money and supporting a bright financial future.
To begin, ask yourself these questions:
- How Are My Savings?
Your financial health check begins with your goals. Before you look at the contents of your savings account, think about what you want in life. Whether you’re saving for a new car, a dream vacation, or higher education, picture those goals. If you’re regularly contributing money to your savings, you’re off to a great start. If you aren’t, figure out why. If you feel like your funds aren’t growing quickly enough, look for dedicated accounts that will help, such as high yield savings accounts, vacation club accounts, educational savings accounts and certificates.
Our Savings Goals Calculator can help you get started and show how much you’ll potentially save over time.
- How Are My Retirement Savings?
It’s never too early to start saving for retirement, and it’s never too late to start saving more. Whether retirement is years away or just around the corner, your plan should be a major financial priority.
- Can I Find Any Ways to Cut Wasteful Spending?
If you want a healthy financial future, track and look for wasteful spending. If you never read the magazines you subscribe to, cancel them. Stop automatic payments you’re still making for things you don’t use, like streaming services or gym memberships. Determine if you have any bad spending habits, like eating at restaurants too much or buying too many clothes. Set appropriate budget limits for these expenses.
- Have I Checked My Credit Report?
Check your credit report regularly to stay ready for new financial needs (like a mortgage or auto loan) and help protect against fraud and identity theft. Request your free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for any possible errors, outdated information, transactions you don’t recognize, or other surprises. Address any issues right away. As an American Heritage member, you can also check your FICO® Score for free through our Online Teller.
- How Am I Doing With My Emergency Fund?
Your emergency fund should cover at least a few months’ worth of expenses in case you become unemployed, have a major medical expense, need to pay for a home or car repair, or have another unplanned expense. If you haven’t started an emergency fund, consider setting aside funds into a dedicated account.
- Am I Paying Down Debt?
Are you struggling to keep up with loan payments or only making the minimum payment on high interest credit cards? Now could be the time to create and stick to a budget that makes paying off debt a higher priority. If you’re struggling with debt, consider seeking outside guidance so you don’t have to tackle this challenge alone.
- Are My Financial Goals on Track?
Examine your progress toward your goals – like buying a home or going on vacation – and consider whether adjusting your monthly spending and saving could help you reach these goals sooner. Remember that sometimes it’s healthy to adjust your expectations. If, no matter how you change your lifestyle, you won’t be able to afford your dream home in the next 5 years, don’t give up. Instead, figure out if you’ll be able to afford it in 10 years. Big goals aren’t impossible, but sometimes they take a little longer to achieve.
Call the Experts
American Heritage Credit Union’s dedicated local team is committed to the success of our members. After all, we live and work alongside you – right in your community. With a variety of financial solutions for every stage of life, our team is here to support your financial well-being, today and tomorrow.