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You are here Consumer News Remar's Report Three Keys to Managing Your Money--Do You Use Them?

Three Keys to Managing Your Money--Do You Use Them?

remarsreport-04_12.jpgApril 2012

What are your financial goals? Longer-term goals may include buying a home, saving for your children’s college education, or planning and investing for a retirement free of money worries. In the shorter-term maybe you’d like to buy a new car or plan toward a dream vacation. Managing your money wisely can help you reach your goals. Three powerful strategies form the foundation for success: 1) building a budget, 2) controlling your credit, and 3) setting up savings plans to grow your money. Your credit union has tools to help you do all three. This report outlines how.


Build a Budget

Do you know exactly how much income you and your family have on a monthly and annual basis? Do you know how much you and your family spend every month and each year? What do you spend it on?

Looking at what you spend enables you to look for places where money may be slipping unnoticed out of your account spent in areas or on items where you can save. It may identify expenses where you can cut down slightly such as on clothing or entertainment and free up money to save for goals.

To get started check out the all the online resources Educators provides you on its website. We recommend Your Guide to Personal Finance, which explains budgeting among other aspects of managing your finances, and the Budgeting Calculators which give you an interactive form to help you track your expenses and forms to help you look at other budget issues.

Three keys to managing your money

Build a budget.

Control your credit.

Set up savings plans to grow your money.

Sound money management today can lead to a bright tomorrow.

Tip: Tired of bank fees, check out the many services provided free on Educators checking accounts, including the account itself if you use e-statements.

Control Your Credit

Your credit rating and credit score have a big impact on your finances. Your creditworthiness determines how much interest you’ll pay on a credit card, an auto loan, a home mortgage and other loans. A lower rating means higher rates. A poor rating even affects your ability to get credit or a loan on any terms. Your creditworthiness may also influence what you pay for insurance or your ability to rent an apartment.

Paying all bills on time and paying down debt are just two steps you can take to improve your credit score and to keep it high. To help you manage or improve your credit, Educators offers the What’s Your Score? Program. Call or stop into a branch to ask about this program. If you need help to manage debt, Educators provides free and confidential financial counseling and education through BALANCE.

Tip: Learn more about credit and credit scores by accessing Educators’ handy guides, Understanding Your Credit Score and Credit 411.


Set Up Savings Plans to Grow Your Money

What longer-range financial goals are you saving for? Most financial experts recommend first establishing an “emergency” or “rainy day” savings fund of 3 to 6 months of basic expenses. An emergency fund can protect against unexpected events or expenses derailing your longer-term plans. Many families then put a priority on 1) saving for children’s higher education and 2) saving for retirement. You may have different or additional goals.

What’s important is to set up savings and investment strategies to meet your goals if you have not done so. If you already have savings plans in place, it may be time to review your investment management strategies.

Educators offers the Savings Challenge Program with information, calculators, blogs and other resources. Educators also provides members with access to experienced financial advisors, through CFS, who can assist in general financial planning and pre-retirement planning. Call or contact Educators today to learn more about these services.

You may also wish to check out two previous Remar’s Reports: 1) Are You Saving for Your Kids’ College? Tips for Success No Matter When You Start 2) After the Great Recession: Are Your Retirement Savings on Track? Tips for Meeting Your Goal.

Tip: Educators is presenting a workshop on “Financial Management/Saving for Your Children” in April. You can choose from April 12 or April 24. Register online now. There is another workshop on “Investing for Children” on May 15 and 17.

Sound Money Management Today Can Lead to a Bright Tomorrow

If you start today building on the three foundation blocks of managing your money—or renew your commitment to building on them—you help ensure that you and your family will have the financial resources to accomplish your goals for the future. At each step, Educators has the tools and the people to help.

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