Sponsored | Story by: KEMBA Financial Credit Union
The year 2020 is one that you will tell your kids and grandkids about for years to come. Now that it’s behind us, there are many reasons to be optimistic in the coming year as we all recover from the challenges of 2020.
As the new vaccines provide hope for better protecting our health, they also show promise of helping our businesses and economy normalize after a year that was financially unstable. One way to start 2021 off right is to take a look at your financial situation and find ways to make it a great year for your money.
Here are a few considerations for your financial health:
- Create a budget and save a portion of your income each month to build (or rebuild) an emergency savings. If you had to withdraw from your emergency savings last year, make a goal of recouping that as soon as possible. The sooner you get your savings built back up, the better off you’ll be for unexpected expenses. If expenses do pop up, resist the urge to pull money from your 401k or other investments. It could be an opportune time to ask your banking partner for a financial checkup .
- If you had to defer payments (rent, auto, student loan, mortgage) and are behind, try to make them up as quickly as possible. Talk to your landlord, mortgage company or creditors to create a plan to get caught up. If you are at risk for eviction or foreclosure, there are resources available to help you, but the sooner you begin pursuing those options, the better. Once you have a plan in place, stick to it and make your payments on time.
- Take the time to review your reoccurring monthly payments (cable, internet, cell phone, gas, electric, insurance) and see if there are better priced options available for you. You may find that another local provider offers a lower monthly plan, or perhaps you might even qualify for a different car insurance because your commute has changed. Often times your cable, internet and cell phone providers are willing to negotiate a lower price if you’re considering switching to a competitor.
- Be aware of fraud and protect your money. 2020 impacted many of us financially, and fraudsters capitalized on that by devising new schemes centered around some of the most popular topics of the year, such as COVID testing, vaccines and stimulus checks. Stay alert to the new ways fraudsters try to obtain your personal and banking information and protect your money by never sharing your private information. To help monitor, take advantage of the alerts you can set up on your bank and credit card accounts.
- While now is a great time to capitalize on low interest rates, a poor credit score can disqualify you from taking advantage of them. Focus on improving your credit score in 2021 by making your payments on time and ensuring you have funds on-hand to meet your financial obligations. Financial counseling resources, like GreenPath Financial, can help you with a credit review and provide guidance to get back on track. Once you’re confident in your credit score, explore the rates you’re paying on your car, mortgage, credit cards, etc. By refinancing, you may be able to get out of debt faster and save money for years to come.
- Debt consolidation can be another way to improve your financial position. For example, if you have high-interest credit card balances, consolidating to a card with a lower interest rate may decrease your monthly payments and allow you to pay your bills off faster. A great example of this is an introductory rate card at KEMBA Financial Credit Union. New cardholders at KEMBA earn a 0% rate on all balance transfers made in the first 90 days for 12 months and a low everyday rate after the promotional rate expires. Take a look at the rates you’re paying on your credit cards, especially store cards that you may have opened to get a one-time discount, and determine if transferring your debts would put you in a better financial position.
Make 2021 a great year both personally and for your money by finding a banking partner committed to helping you meet your unique needs, like your local credit union.
One of the many benefits of being a KEMBA member is the access you have to the personal and business banking services, financial tools, resources and counseling, and the dedicated member service team. If you find yourself struggling financially heading into 2021 or if you are looking for a fresh start, take advantage of the financial counseling resources.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of a KEMBA membership, get started by calling 800.282.6420 , option 4.