It’s no secret that 2020 was a particularly difficult and volatile financial year for many of us. As a result, studies show that more Americans than ever are setting exact goals, creating financial plans, and pursuing financial discipline.
Knowing how to set financial goals for the new year can be as daunting as pursuing the goals themselves. At White River Credit Union, we’ve put together some tips to set the best financial goals for your family and your circumstances.
Analyze where you are now
Before setting financial goals, it’s important to look at your current finances and know where you stand now. Look through your income, expenses, savings, and any debts. It can feel daunting to take full stock of your current finances, though having a clear picture of what you’re working with will make goal setting immeasurably easier. If you have questions or would like a hand with this part, working with a credit union can be a great option. Contact one of our knowledgeable team members and we’d be happy to help walk through your current finances together.
Consider the current markets
2020 was a volatile year with unstable markets, a pandemic, business closures, and a lot of unpredictable changes. Each of these factors can affect your finances and the financial markets that you’re in. For example, interest rates for refinancing homes have dropped significantly since COVID-19 first hit, and many stocks continue to fluctuate. Consider the current markets that affect your finances as you think about goal setting.
Assess your budget
The next step will be to consider your budget. Make sure that your housing, food, and utility costs are all achievable for you and your family. When your budget is clear, it will be easier to allocate finances and think about paying off debts, creating beneficial credit card habits, and assessing whether anything like credit union loans or refinancing would be a good option for your circumstances.
Consider safety plans
Last year a lot of people were forced to implement safety and emergency plans for their finances. As we move into a new year, now is the perfect time to think about whether your current safety plans are robust, and to make sure that having a financial contingency plan is factored into your goal setting. We recommend having 3-6 months of expenses in a savings account that are only used for emergencies.
Consider goals and which are most important to you
Now you can start looking at the types of goals you’d like to set, and what might be most important to you in the new year. Consider any big life changes that you might be looking at this year. For example, will you be moving homes and will it make sense to look at things like credit union home loans? Are you thinking about buying a car, and will you be thinking about what you need to know before buying a car?
Financial goal setting can be intimidating, and you don’t have to do it alone! A couple of resources that can help are:
Working with a credit union – There are a lot of benefits to working with a credit union over a traditional bank. Credit unions offer a level of personal care and attention you won’t find with a bank. Our team truly is here to work with you on your personal financial journey, and to set robust goals that align with your needs and your family’s needs.
Financial literacy webinars – These are a great option for learning and informing your financial goals. White River Credit Union is proud to partner with BALANCE to provide free financial literacy webinars! Check our events calendar or click the link to BALANCE found in our Learning Area to hear about upcoming free credit union webinars.
2020 was a difficult year, and we’re here to help you set financial goals for the new year that work for your family and circumstances so that this year can feel stronger and less unpredictable. White River Credit Union is committed to helping mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your finances, helping to make 2021 a healthy year for your finances and goals. Visit our Learning Area for more information and tools for financial health and goal setting.
Reach out to White River Credit Union if you would like help with financial planning; we’re always here to walk you through it.