How does financial strength begin? By taking the first step in the right direction.
The start of a new year is a great opportunity for taking positive steps to improve your personal or family finances. And it’s not as hard as you might think. Making a few key decisions and choices now can add up over the year and lead to real change.
Origin Bank has four simple ideas for getting control over your current situation and setting yourself up for more success.
- Start with one goal. Beyond paying off debt, what can you realistically accomplish over the next 12 months? A weekly or monthly savings goal? Getting your savings account above $5,000? Opening an IRA? Even relatively small goals make a difference, and the feeling of accomplishment is great motivation for taking another step.
- Prioritize your debts. List them in order of annual interest rate, starting with the highest. Generally, it’s best to focus on the top of the list and work your way down. The average credit card interest rate is usually considered to be just over 12 percent. If two or more debts carry higher rates, say, 15 percent or more, you might want to talk to an Origin expert about a more detailed plan for repayment.
- Start saving for retirement. When it comes to building financial independence, time is the biggest asset, so take advantage. An individual retirement account, or IRA, allows your wealth to build over time, and it offers important tax advantages. Origin’s financial planning experts can match you with the right kind of IRA and help determine a pace of saving that’s right for you.
- Close unused or unneeded accounts. Do you really need multiple credit cards? There may be exceptions, but the answer is usually no. Each card or account generates fees and interest, which is money you’re giving away. Having multiple accounts also increases the possibility of fraud and abuse.
Here’s a bonus tip that’s an easy, fun way to save. When paying with cash, round up to the nearest $5 amount. If you’re buying groceries, for example, and the bill comes to $36, pay $40. When you get home, toss the change in a container and forget about it. Some families have used this trick to save thousands of dollars over the year ‒ money that can put a serious dent in your debt, pay for a nice Christmas or fund a great family vacation.
Need more ideas or advice on something specific? Contact Origin Bank. When it comes to personal finances, we believe everyone deserves a chance to put their best foot forward.