(BPT) - October is Financial Planning Month, so there is no better time to face your financial fears and make actionable changes to get yourself on track when it comes to managing your money. While nearly half of Americans (47 percent) find the prospect of financial planning scary, it doesn’t have to be.
If you find yourself constantly postponing a review of your finances and feel your current money situation is more out of order than ever, turns out you are not alone. In fact, according to a new survey by Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R), the overwhelming majority of Americans (82 percent) wish they felt more in control of their finances. By following a simple checklist and exploring options that fit your specific circumstances, you’ll be well on your way to making the most out of your money and achieving financial well-being by Halloween.
1. Get out of credit card debt. First and foremost, be conscious of any revolving credit card debt you are currently carrying, and the fees, variable rates and payment terms that may be draining your bank account. A debt consolidation loan allows you to combine your debts into one consistent, easy-to-manage monthly statement. Debt Consolidation Loans are available with no-fees and fixed-rates through Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R).
2. Conduct an assessment of your service providers. Take a look at your monthly expenses and see if there are ways you can lower them by switching to different providers or calling your current provider to re-examine your rates. Whether it is your car insurance or your cable and internet bill, a quick search online and a call to lower your rates could limit your monthly expenses. You should also consider easy-to-use personal finance apps, like Clarity Money, that allow you to track your finances at your fingertips and make it easier for you to spend, borrow and save. Clarity Money can even suggest subscriptions you could cancel and help you set up savings for specific goals, so you could be more in control of your finances by the time next October rolls around.
3. Get ready for tax season. With changes to the tax law, you should take the time to prepare for next year’s taxes by analyzing potential benefits you may be able to take advantage of and figuring out what deductions you might no longer be able to claim. By getting out in front of tax season early, you can be ready for the impacts it may have and be able to file earlier, which could lead to receiving any refund earlier as well.
4. Maximize your 401(k). If your company matches employee contributions to a 401(k) account, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this and make sure you are doing everything you can to build up your 401(k). Consider making changes that could put yourself in a better place to have a nest egg ready for retirement, like increasing your contributions by 1 percent a year.
5. Check your APY. Lastly, make sure you are saving (and growing) your money strategically by checking the annual percentage yield (APY) on your savings account. Make your money work for you by exploring savings account options with higher returns, rather than storing your money in accounts with interest rates near zero. High-yield online savings accounts, like those offered by Marcus by Goldman Sachs, can provide high rates so you can start making money instead of storing it. Marcus offers a rate of 1.90 percent APY on its Online Savings Account, which is 4X the National Savings Average, requires no minimum deposit to open and has no fees.
This Financial Planning Month take the time to explore reasonable options that address your specific needs and put you back in control of your financial future.
For information on approachable solutions to your financial management, head to Marcus.com.
Financial Planning Survey conducted by Marcus by Goldman Sachs in July 2018 among 1,053 Americans