When it comes to being financially stable and independent in the long term, you should start by prioritizing the various aspects of your financial life. Understanding your financial priorities can reduce the risk of money troubles and help build a framework for a financially secure future.
Marygold & Co. is a banking and financial services app that is designed to help you build your financial plan and keep track of your financial goals. With features like our interest-earning Money Pool savings accounts with automated savings, staying on top of your financial goals is easier than ever.
Determining Where You Stand Financially
Financial planning requires you to think about your financial goals and the progress you are making.
Over time, your goals will change – just like the other aspects of your life. So it will be important to have an easy way to track your goals and change them as needed. But before you establish your financial priorities it is a good idea to assess where you stand today.
To determine your financial status, you have to look at how much you own versus how much you owe. The things you own include the money in your bank accounts (e.g., checking and savings), investments, retirement plan, car, home, etc. The things you owe might include credit card debt, student loans, car loans, etc. You don’t need to have exact amounts of each, but an estimate can give you an idea of where you stand financially. Once you determine this, you can start thinking about how to tackle your priorities.
General Financial Priorities to Follow
Financial priorities will change along with your life stage, but we all encounter different situations in life so the process isn’t uniform for everyone.
And don’t be so hard on yourself! This is an important step on the path to financial independence.
Generally, once you have a steady income, you want to prioritize paying down debt and creating an emergency fund. As you become more established you can ramp up your savings and retirement plan investments. Here are some ways to get started. These will help keep you prepared for emergencies and provide a framework for financial prosperity.
Set a Budget and Fund Your Obligations
First and foremost, create a budget. No one likes doing this, but it is important.
If you are just starting out, you should ensure you have enough money to cover expenses such as rent, food, and transportation. This fund should also include payments on all debt including credit cards.
Do you know the interest rates you are paying on your credit cards and other debt? Most people don’t.
Identify an amount over the minimum you can afford to pay, and apply all of that towards the debt with the highest interest first.
Create an Emergency Fund
Life can surprise us with unexpected emergencies such as losing your job, getting your car repaired, or covering medical expenses. The most important aspect of creating an emergency fund is to get started! Start with a small amount and once you meet your goal you can expand it to further grow your fund.
To routinely add to your emergency fund, schedule regular deposits to your Marygold & Co. Emergency Fund Money Pool savings account. You can manage your transfers to be bi-weekly, monthly, or any time frame that works for you, but it’s good to continuously add to this fund to ensure safety for potential financial difficulties. Ultimately you want to have six months of expenses covered by your emergency fund.
Pay Off Debt
We advise giving the most importance to your short and immediate financial goals and this includes paying off high-interest debt.
Having a load of credit card debt can hold you back from achieving other financial goals.
A good strategy to pay off your credit card debt is to determine which of your accounts have the highest interest rates. Pay these off in-full first while making minimum payments on other accounts with lower interest rates. Use any additional funds to make extra credit card payments, placing the most importance on debts of higher interest. Paying off high-interest debt can relieve you of interest fees and can get you on the right track to saving.
Federal Student Loans
The average American aged 18 to 29 currently has student loan debts. owes roughly $17,000 to $45,000 in student loans, and takes an average of 20 years to completely pay it off.
Student loan debt has been growing faster than other types of household debts, and like other debts, it can hinder you from achieving your financial goals. A strategy to help pay off student loans is to make additional payments whenever you can. This minimizes the duration of your loan period and the interest accumulated. If your loan payments are too difficult for you to make, consider refinancing your loan for a lower interest rate or shorter repayment period. Private lenders don’t offer the same protections as the federal government, so you should only do this if you’ve done your research on at least a few lenders.
Save Towards a Goal/Start a Money Pool
You can start to put money towards a personal goal such as purchasing a new car or buying a new mountain bike.
Organizing your savings with something like Marygold & Co.’s Money Pools will allow you to establish multiple interest-earning savings accounts that support your specific goals and provide you with multiple funding options.
Separating your savings from your spending money enables the financial discipline necessary to stay on top of your financial priorities.
Save For Retirement
It is easy to ignore saving for retirement since it seems so far away. But the beauty of saving for retirement is that it is far away, and so the “miracle” of compounding will provide a tailwind to your saving efforts. It’s smart to start a retirement fund as soon as you can. Retirement accounts generally come in two types: Workplace Retirement Plans and Individual Retirement Accounts. You don’t have to have just one of these accounts, you can contribute to both at the same time if you choose.
Workplace retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s are usually offered by employers to employees.
Does your employer offer one?
If it does, find out if they offer a company match, which means they will also contribute to your account as long as you are contributing. To participate, you can choose to have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited to your retirement fund. Individual retirement accounts can be opened at most major brokerages or banks, and you can also choose to automate your contributions to your IRAs through automated transfers.
Prioritize with Marygold & Co.
The most important step is to get started!
Marygold & Co. can help you redefine and prioritize the different aspects of your finances. Features like the interest-earning Money Pool savings accounts can help you set aside money for various types of financial goals simultaneously. Additionally, we provide automated funding options to help you reach those goals quicker.
Our free mobile app is available to anyone in the United States, allowing them to send, receive, spend and save through FDIC insured accounts*.
*Marygold & Co. is a financial technology company and not a bank.