3 Signs It’s Time for a Financial Check-up

    3 minutes
    Get insight into your financial fitness.
    Just like visits with a primary care doctor — financial check-ups are important. A financial check-up is a great way to evaluate the strategies we are using in our finances to keep financially fit while screening for potential problems like signs of financial stress. According to the Financial Health Network a record 221 million Americans are under financial stress. One thing is clear – it’s easy to get off track with our finances.
    Credit Human is dedicated to helping our members build financial slack and stress less. Here are some ways to screen your finances for signs it’s time for a financial check-up.

    Sign #1: You’re not sure where all your money is going
    Not sure exactly where all your money is being spent? A spending plan is a money management strategy that takes a look at all of your expenses side by side. This tactic is a great way to evaluate financial fitness by performing a financial check-up of spending habits to ensure we are spending less than we make. A solid financial spending plan is an important step for reducing financial stress.

    We know that those who plan for the future and the unexpected are four times more likely to be financially healthy than those who don’t. So, where do we begin? In order to figure out where we are going, we need to figure out where we are and we can get started by asking ourselves:
    • What expenses do I have coming up?
    • What does my family need this year?
    • What else should I be prepared for?
    The more we can make thoughtful decisions about current and future spending, the better our chances are at reaching our financial goals, no matter what they are. Our spending plan worksheet is a great way to get started.

    Sign #2: Living paycheck-to-paycheck
    Maybe, like so many Americans, a source of financial stress right now is paying bills. It's not uncommon to find you can't pay your bills, including unplanned ones, until your next paycheck hits your account. We understand this is a stressful time and it’s hard to know if the decisions we make are financially fit or not. You’re not alone.

    Finding ways to manage finances is something many of us are thinking about right now. If you feel like you seem to miss payments, make late payments, go over budget on grocery, Amazon, or other expenses consider updating your spending plan so you can track how much money you are really spending.

    Remember, getting better at managing money is about striving for progress not perfection. The more time and effort you put in, the more those skills stand to grow. Create a spending plan and try it out for a few months.  Then you can adjust it as needed. Once you have all the kinks worked out, set up automatic payments for recurring expenses such as utilities, mortgage or rent, memberships, monthly subscriptions and even direct deposit into your savings account.

    Sign #3: Missing or making late payments
    Maybe a source of financial stress is missing or making late payments. Automating bills is another way to help get your finances back into shape as you take some of the guess work out of your spending plan allowing you to make your money work for you.

    Most companies today accept automatic bill payments. Consider checking with the organization to be sure they accept automatic payments. Most would appreciate the advantage of not having to use other methods to collect payments.

    Consider regularly screening your finances for opportunities – it’s important as financial pictures change. Rest assured efforts like automating bills may set you on the path to improve your financial fitness and get your wallet into shape.

    First step in your Financial Check-up: Financial health quiz
    How is your financial fitness? Our financial health quiz is a quick, 2-minute quiz that is a great way to check your vitals. You will see how you are doing with your money and learn the best way for you to build slack, as well as other areas of opportunity.

    The better we get at strengthening our money-management muscles — the more likely we are to have healthy savings and a manageable debt to income relationship.

    Get a full Financial Check-up: Financial Health Centers
    Get insight into your financial fitness by scheduling an appointment at one of our Financial Health Centers. We are ready to spend time with you to learn more about your financial realities and discuss new ways to keep you on sound financial footing. Our Spending Plan Worksheet is a great tool you can download and bring with you when you meet with one of our Member Relationship Specialists.

    Other Resources
    The goal of a spending plan is to become more aware of where your money goes so you can adjust as necessary. Here are some tips to get started in the Credit Human article Creating a Spending Plan.