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5 Tips to Stay Financially Fit from our local BECU

PhinneyWood has a wonderful array of small banks and credit unions to choose from, including the BECU located in the Janus Apartments on NW 85th Street. Below are five tips to help you stay financially fit from BECU’s Lead Financial Educator Stacey Black.

During busy seasons of life, it may be difficult to prioritize things like completing your annual physical, going to the gym or conducting a financial check-up However, just like training for a marathon, becoming financially fit doesn’t happen overnight – it requires ongoing discipline and regularly assessing your financial situation to ensure you understand the steps needed to set yourself up for success, both now and in the future.

Tip 1: Take Your Financial Temperature. An important first step in your financial fitness journey is gaining a holistic view of your personal financial situation. This may include knowing how much you have in savings, understanding your general spending habits and seeing what debt you may owe (i.e., student loans, car loans, mortgages). Your financial institution can help connect you with a professional who is readily available to kick-off this conversation.

Tip 2: Set Your Financial Goals. Everyone’s financial goals are different. They may range from paying off student loans to buying a new car or saving for retirement. When creating short- and long-term financial goals, Black recommends setting milestones you can realistically achieve within a shorter amount of time, understanding that it’s okay to start small and build from there. Whether you’re simply getting into the habit of saving, building credit or considering debt pay-off strategies, make sure you write down your goals, understand when you want to complete them and prioritize them in order of necessity.

Tip 3: Gauge Your Spending Habits. A key aspect of financial fitness is being able to stick to a budget. A good place to start is to monitor your monthly spending to see how closely it aligns with your monthly expenses and income. If you’re spending more than you need to, identify what you’re buying and think of ways to cut back on unnecessary purchases. Also ensure you’re tracking your progress against your weekly and monthly goals, as well as your projected completion dates. And remember, unexpected moments in life aren’t a matter of if but when, so make sure your goals include building a savings account for unforeseen emergencies.

Tip 4: Check Your Credit Report. Your credit report contains information about the status of your credit accounts and your loan payment history. A good credit score is critical to qualifying for loans at the best possible rates. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends checking your report at least once a year to make sure it is up to date and correct. For more information, visit BECU.org.

Tip 5: Tap into Your Financial Resources. Check to see if your financial institution provides free financial education resources. For example, BECU offers free financial education articleswebinars, self-paced courses and member-exclusive resources like its Financial Health Check program. Bite-sized modules from EverFi are also available in a range of topics, depending on your personal financial goals.