Three easy steps to get started on the path to financial stability
It comes as no surprise that often a person’s financial life mirrors the ups and downs that might be reflected in their physical health. For that reason, we know that a holistic recovery includes taking charge of financial health elements to maintain stability moving forward.
Start with an assessment of your financial health.
Begin by determining where you stand financially. You’ll want to consider your income, debts, monthly bills, spending, and savings. It might be helpful to do this by using free tools like the Financial Health Survey available at www.machiassavings.bank. A short questionnaire will help determine the degree to which you successfully manage your money, coming in and going out, and provide a look at whether you are financially coping, vulnerable or healthy.
Find out your credit score.
You also need to understand your current credit score. You can access this free of charge directly from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus, download apps like Credit Karma, or enroll in the free Savvy Money app through your financial institution. Savvy Money provides an added benefit by not only giving 24/7 access to your credit score, but it also outlines how certain behaviors affect your score. It can be helpful to see how specific actions positively or negatively affect your score so that you can adjust future financial decisions appropriately.
Determine your financial goals and make a plan for moving forward.
Damaged credit doesn’t happen overnight so rebuilding it will take a bit of time, too. Outline achievable goals such as adding a certain amount to your savings each month or paying down an existing debt. Be patient, connect with a financial coach who can provide guidance on your individual situation, and commit to working the plan.
Recognizing the need to make financial resources available for all Mainers, Annette Lease works to scale access to financial planning services, leading to improved financial health and resilience of Machias Savings Bank employees, customers, and communities around Maine.