Being fiscally fit in 2019
January 5, 2019
Nearly eight out of 10 adults are vowing to put a new focus on their financial wellness in 2019, according to a new survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education.
It's a great goal, but what does that actually look like in practice? Many "financial experts" recommend having an emergency fund of anywhere from $1,000 to three months salary as a starting point.
If you are drowning in a sea of debt, that might seem like an impossible thing. Here are a few suggestions about where to start making some room for savings, some of which I did last month. My results were surprising!
Take a minute to do some math about your current home loan, whatever rate you are paying. Find your property tax bill and your homeowners insurance. Take the annual amounts, add them together, and divide by 12. Does your monthly escrow/impound amount exceed that figure? You might be paying too much of a "pad" on your impound account, so call and ask for an "escrow analysis." My call saved me $74 per month on my house payment. (If you are curious about refinancing, call me directly.)
Have you spoken with your phone service carrier, your internet provider and your insurance broker recently? It might be worth the few minutes call to each to make sure you have the correct plan and/or coverage. After speaking with my phone company, I am saving over $60 per month, because they have a "customer retention" department that offered me discounts for a year.
Are there any recurring deductions on your bank accounts? If you are paying service fees, ask about how to avoid them. Non-sufficient funds fees can really add up, so inquire about a small line of overdraft credit. If you have repeating monthly dues, ask if it's time to cancel that service. Are you using your gym membership? Are you getting your car washed enough?
If you're noticing even a tiny bit of savings, maybe you can hide that money in a new savings account instead of spending it. My "found money" account is at a local credit union other than where I hold my checking account, and I didn't get an ATM card. It's easy for me to deposit my found money, but harder to get at it for withdrawals. The way my unexpected money has added up gave me new respect for small amounts.
There are three money books I'll be reading soon, so if I find anything else interesting, I will be sure to share it with you. Wishing you a happy and financially fit 2019.
Tammy Engel is your local Mortgage Advisor. She's been working for your best interest since 1990, and can be reached at 661/822-7325 for your next purchase, refinance, and reverse mortgage. NMLS #235051 CaDRE#01273839