Set ‘Em and Forget ‘Em: 4 Financial Processes You Can Automate to Benefit You
On the occasion we realize our finances have gotten out of order, we might feel compelled to immediately transform our lives, but – as is the case with most good things – change takes time. This is especially true when it comes to financial goals. And with the current state of the market, our goalposts can feel like they’re at the furthest end of the field.
If you want to get to fixing things ASAP, below are some suggestions.
Automate Your Savings
This might not be breaking news, but sometimes the obvious needs stating – life is expensive! Especially when you have your sights set on a vacation, home renovation, or even the creation of an emergency fund (which 26% of Americans report not having at all). Setting aside savings is a crucial step towards your financial health.
There are many ways to save, from automating contributions to an investment portfolio to downloading an app that bundles spare change on each transaction you make. If you want to avoid market fluctuations and go the straightforward route, set up an automatic direct deposit (which can be done in CCU’s Online Banking for members) that funnels a percentage of your paycheck into a designated savings account. Then try not to touch it, unless conditions are right to to put some into a limited-term, interest-bearing account, such as a Certificate.
Enroll in a 401(k)
Speaking of savings… if your employer does not automatically enroll you in a 401(k) plan, you can sign up yourself. Unlike some company benefits (like flexible spending accounts or insurance enrollments that have deadlines), you can enroll in a 401(k) plan anytime during the year.
So why not now? The sooner you can begin growing your retirement savings, the better. What you contribute is up to you, and many employers will match your contributions up to a certain percentage. If you earn income but don’t receive employer benefits, you can open a Traditional or Roth IRA as an alternative.
Review Those Subscription Services
The average American underestimates their monthly subscriptions costs by $133, according to a 2022 survey conducted by C+R Research. People estimated they spent about $86 per month when in fact they were spending about $219 per month. Now is a good time as any to take inventory of your streaming networks, music subscriptions, smartphone apps, wine club memberships, or any other miscellaneous expenses that might be draining money from your overall savings goals. There are even apps that help keep track of these for you!
Check your credit report
You can get a free report once a year from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). This allows you to resolve errors or instances of identity theft – red flags you do not want creditors looking at when they are evaluating your application for loans and credit cards. With the exception of Experian, you’ll have to pay a fee if you want to see your credit score.
Resolved to HelpNeed a little advice when it comes to managing your finances? Our partner, GreenPath, provides Financial Wellness Experts to assist you, as they work with thousands of people each month to pay off debt, improve credit and lead a financially healthy life.