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16 Small Steps You Can Take Now to Improve Your Finances

Pretty brunette with moneybox in hands

You have all kinds of financial goals you want to achieve, but where should you begin? There are so many different aspects of money management that it can be difficult to find a starting point when trying to achieve financial success. If you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Progress can be made in tiny, manageable steps. Here’s are 16 small things you can do right now to improve your overall financial health. (See also: These 13 Numbers Are Crucial to Understanding Your Finances)

1. Create a household budget

The biggest step toward effective money management is making a household budget. You first need to figure out exactly how much money comes in each month. Once you have that number, organize your budget in order of financial priorities: essential living expenses, contributions to retirement savings, repaying debt, and any entertainment or lifestyle costs. Having a clear picture of exactly how much is coming in and going out every month is key to reaching your financial goals.

2. Calculate your net worth

Simply put, your net worth is the total of your assets minus your debts and liabilities. You’re left with a positive or negative number. If the number is positive, you’re on the up and up. If the number is negative — which is especially common for young people just starting out — you’ll need to keep chipping away at debt.

Remember that certain assets, like your home, count on both sides of the ledger. While you may have mortgage debt, it is secured by the resale value of your home. (See also: 10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year)

3. Review your credit reports

Your credit history determines your creditworthiness, including the interest rates you pay on loans and credit cards. It can also affect your employment opportunities and living options. Every 12 months, you can check your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) for free at annualcreditreport.com. It may also be a good idea to request one report from one bureau every four months, so you can keep an eye on your credit throughout the year without paying for it.

Regularly checking your credit report will help you stay on top of every account in your name and can alert you to fraudulent activity.

4. Check your credit score

Your FICO score can range from 300-850. The higher the score, the better. Keep in mind that two of the most important factors that go into making up your credit score are your payment history, specifically negative information, and how much debt you’re carrying: the type of debts, and how much available credit you have at any given time. (See also: How to Boost Your Credit Score in Just 30 Days)

5. Set a monthly savings amount

Transferring a set amount of money to a savings account at the same time you pay your other monthly bills helps ensure that you’re regularly and intentionally saving money for the future. Waiting to see if you have any money left over after paying for all your other discretionary lifestyle expenses can lead to uneven amounts or no savings at all.

6. Make minimum payments on all debts

The first step to maintaining a good credit standing is to avoid making late payments. Build your minimum debt reduction payments into your budget. Then, look for any extra money you can put toward paying down debt principal. (See also: The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt)

7. Increase your retirement saving rate by 1 percent

Your retirement savings and saving rate are the most important determinants of your overall financial success. Strive to save 15 percent of your income for most of your career for retirement, and that includes any employer match you may receive. If you’re not saving that amount yet, plan ahead for ways you can reach that goal. For example, increase your saving rate every time you get a bonus or raise.

8. Open an IRA

An IRA is an easy and accessible retirement savings vehicle that anyone with earned income can access (although you can’t contribute to a traditional IRA past age 70½). Unlike an employer-sponsored account, like a 401(k), an IRA gives you access to unlimited investment choices and is not attached to any particular employer. (See also: Stop Believing These 5 Myths About IRAs)

9. Update your account beneficiaries

Certain assets, like retirement accounts and insurance policies, have their own beneficiary designations and will be distributed based on who you have listed on those documents — not necessarily according to your estate planning documents. Review these every year and whenever you have a major life event, like a marriage.

10. Review your employer benefits

The monetary value of your employment includes your salary in addition to any other employer-provided benefits. Consider these extras part of your wealth-building tools and review them on a yearly basis. For example, a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) can help pay for current health care expenses through your employer and a Health Savings Account (HSA) can help you pay for medical expenses now and in retirement. (See also: 8 Myths About Health Savings Accounts — Debunked!)

11. Review your W-4

The W-4 form you filled out when you first started your job dictates how much your employer withholds for taxes — and you can make changes to it. If you get a refund at tax time, adjusting your tax withholdings can be an easy way to increase your take-home pay. Also, remember to review this form when you have a major life event, like a marriage or after the birth of a child. (See also: Are You Withholding the Right Amount of Taxes from Your Paycheck?)

12. Ponder your need for life insurance

In general, if someone is dependent upon your income, then you may need a life insurance policy. When determining how much insurance you need, consider protecting assets and paying off all outstanding debts, as well as retirement and college costs. (See also: 15 Surprising Insurance Policies You Might Need)

13. Check your FDIC insurance coverage

First, make sure that the banking institutions you use are FDIC insured. For credit unions, you’ll want to confirm it’s a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) federally-covered institution. Federal deposit insurance protects up to $250,000 of your deposits for each type of bank account you have. To determine your account coverage at a single bank or various banks, visit FDIC.gov.

14. Check your Social Security statements

Set up an online account at SSA.gov to confirm your work and income history and to get an idea of what types of benefits, if any, you’re entitled to — including retirement and disability.

15. Set one financial goal to achieve it by the end of the year

An important part of financial success is recognizing where you need to focus your energy in terms of certain financial goals, like having a fully funded emergency account, for example.

If you’re overwhelmed by trying to simultaneously work on reaching all of your goals, pick one that you can focus on and achieve it by the end of the year. Examples include paying off a credit card, contributing to an IRA, or saving $500.

16. Take a one-month spending break

Unfortunately, you can never take a break from paying your bills, but you do have complete control over how you spend your discretionary income. And that may be the only way to make some progress toward some of your savings goals. Try trimming some of your lifestyle expenses for just one month to cushion your checking or savings account. You could start by bringing your own lunch to work every day or meal-planning for the week to keep your grocery bill lower and forgo eating out. (See also: How a Simple "Do Not Buy" List Keeps Money in Your Pocket)

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With the new year here, it’s time to take control of your financial goals. From creating a household budget, to calculating your net worth, or setting a monthly savings amount, we’ve got 16 small steps you can take to improve your finances. | #personalfinance #moneymatters #budgeting


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In Conversation With Michael Rangel, Bank Novo’s CEO.

Small businesses and freelancers need a banking app tailored to their needs. Michael Rangel understands those needs and has some insightful thoughts on small business banking.Small businesses and freelancers need a banking app tailored to their needs. Michael Rangel understands those needs and has some insightful thoughts on small business banking.

The post In Conversation With Michael Rangel, Bank Novo’s CEO. appeared first on Money Under 30.

Source: moneyunder30.com

How to Get a Chase Debit Card Replacement

If you lose your chase debit card by any chance or if it was stolen, you can request a replacement very easily. But one thing you cannot do anymore is to just go to a Chase branch in your neighborhood and request a replacement card. While it was convenient, Chase discontinued that method due to fraud.  We’ll show you how you can replace your chase debit card in 3 other ways.

Note that if you card is about to expire, there is no need to request a replacement card. Chase will automatically send you a new card during the month your current card will expire. The main reasons to request a card are if your card has been stolen, lost, or damaged.

Three Simple and Easy Ways to Request a Chase Debit Card Replacement:

1. Do it online at Chase.com

The first way to request your Chase debit card replacement is to do it online.

1. Go to Chase.com to sign in. 2. Once you are on the homepage, click on the “More…” options. 3. Then, click on “Account Services.” 4. Then, click on “Replace a lost or damaged card.”

After you have completed all these steps, the new window will ask you to choose a Chase debit card that you need to replace. It also ask you to choose a reasons why you need to request a Chase debit card replacement.

The three main reasons you will notice on the drop down menu are: 1) my current cards needs to be re-issued; 2) My card is lost; 3) My card wasn’t received.

Once you have chosen a reason for replacement, review and submit your request. You should receive your card in 3-5 business days. If you don’t receive your card after five days, call Chase customer service using the number on your statement. 

2. Replace your Chase Debit Card by calling customer service.

Another way to order a Chase debit card replacement is through telephone. Using the Chase customer service is available 24/7. So you can call immediately, especially if you think your debit card was stolen.

The telephone number to call is 1-800-935-9935. If your credit card that is lost, damaged or stolen, the right telephone number is 1-800-432-3117.

3. Replace your Chase debit card is through the Chase Mobile app.

Lastly, the third way to replace your Chase debit card is through the Chase Mobile app.

If you have installed it on your phone, this should be very easy and straightforward. Right from your phone, follow these steps:

1) After you login into your Chase Mobile app, tap on the debit card or credit card you want to replace. 2) Scroll down to find “Replace a lost or damage card.” 3) Then, choose the card you want to replace and then choose a reason for replacement. 4) Review your request and submit it.

Simple and done!

In conclusion, if you think you need a Chase replacement card, request it either from the Chase Mobile app, sign in to chase.com, or call the 800 number. It’s easy and you can request it in under 5 minutes. But one thing you cannot do is visiting your local branch and request one instantly. Chase will not replace your debit card at any of its locations. You’ll have to use the three methods outlined above.

Related:

  • CIT Bank Savings: How Much Can You Earn?
  • How Much Should You Save a Month?
  • What is a Consumer Loan

The post How to Get a Chase Debit Card Replacement appeared first on GrowthRapidly.

Source: growthrapidly.com