Money worries keep many Americans up at night. A recent survey by NextAdvisor found that 51% of Americans were anxious about their financial situation. The top 3 worries were debt, lack of savings, and not having enough for retirement.
If you find that money worries are keeping you up at night, here are some steps you can take:
1. Ask yourself some questions. First ask yourself, “What am I really worried about?” Then ask, “Is it something I have control over?” If it is something within your control, take action to fix the problem. Most money problems can be mended by simply living within your means—something you can control.
2. Develop an action plan. When a money problem nags you, it’s easy to ignore it and simply hope your circumstances will change. But to truly change the situation, confront it head on. Take an honest look at your finances and develop a plan of action that will give you control of your future.
3. Take measures today that will reduce your stress in the long run. Set aside a little money each paycheck, no matter how small, to begin an emergency savings account. Try to save enough to cover at least three months’ expenses; ideally, build that fund to cover six months. Don’t get hung up on how big this number is—just steadily keep adding to your fund. Develop a side gig to develop multiple income streams—such as selling belongings or handmade items online, or using a skill, like photography, to work as a freelancer.
4. Meet with a financial adviser to make sure you’re saving enough for retirement. It’s never too late to begin saving for retirement. If you haven’t opened an (IRA) individual retirement account at your credit union or a 401(k), start saving now. If your company offers to match your 401(k) contributions up to a certain percentage, make sure to contribute at least that percentage to get the full benefit. If you don’t, it’s like leaving free money on the table. For example, if your company offers to match your contributions up to 6% of your income, and you contribute 6%, then your employer will contribute another 6% to your 401(k). If you contribute 3%, your employer will only match that 3%.
5. Contact BAY AREA CREDIT UNION for help. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, every credit union’s mission is to help members manage their finances. We offer multiple services, educational opportunities, and trained staff to help you conquer your money problems.
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