Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
4 minutes reading time (721 words)

Facing Your Biggest Financial Feasr

A recent survey from the NFCC reveals the top financial concerns of consumers: saving money, not having or affording health insurance, making debt obligations, credit score concerns, fear of job loss. There are definitely a lot of pieces that fit in the personal finance puzzle and fitting them together is key to completing your financial picture. It can be tough, but take it one step at a time, doing the best you can.

How to Save More Money

More than half of those surveyed say they’re concerned about their savings – both the amount they have set aside for an emergency and the amount they’re contributing for retirement. One thing you can do is save a portion of your monthly income – say 20%. Put 10% in your regular savings account and 10% in your retirement account. That means you have to try to live on the remaining 80%. Go with it. See what you’ll have to cut from your current spending to make the 20-percent-a-month savings goal happen.

Affording Health Insurance

As health care costs rise, having health insurance becomes more important. If you have a group plan through your employer, it might be wise to take it. The monthly premium may be more than you want to pay, but still cheaper and with better benefits than you’d get on an individual plan.

If you’re unemployed or your employer doesn’t offer health insurance, check out an individual plan from private health insurance companies or even Medicaid (income and age requirements).

Under the Affordable Care Act, people with pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable coverage via Health Insurance Marketplaces. Open enrollment begins October 1, 2013 so it’s important to stay aware of health care news.

Making Your Debt Obligations

Paying off debt – even the minimum payments – can be just as difficult as saving money. When you consider the monthly cost of student loans, auto loans, mortgage, and credit card, you may not have enough money to meet all of these. Review your budget to look for ways to cut back and generate more money. Taking on a part-time job may also be a way to bring in extra income. Talk to your creditor or lender about lowering your interest rate or refinancing the loan to make your payments more affordable.

Take Charge of Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score can be scary, especially if you’re not confident about the financial choices you’ve made in the past few months or years. But, even if your credit score is as the worst (it’s probably not that bad), you have the power to improve it.

Start by checking your credit score, either through myFICO.com, one of the credit bureaus, or a free service like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. Learn the factors influencing your credit score, and then check your credit report to see what you can do to improve your credit score.

Disputing inaccurate or incomplete credit report information is one of the quickest ways to improve your credit score. But, if the negative information is accurate, your next option is to make it look better. Pay off past due accounts. Bring down high balances. And start making timely payments on your existing or new accounts.

Conquer Job Insecurity

Based on survey results, more than 42 million Americans are concerned about job loss. The lack of an emergency fund may accelerate that fear. Improve your job security by being the best at your job, continue to learn new things and bring new skills to your position.

Update your resume frequently, adding new skills and accomplishments. An updated resume will be extremely beneficial if you find yourself on the job hunt again. Continue to maintain relationships with people in your industry, even those outside your company. You may be able to leverage these connections to get a new job if you’re let go from your old one.

Contribute to your emergency fund as often as you can. With a strong safety net in place, you won’t have to panic if you lose your job.

Financial security is a work in progress. That means, you can never stop working to ensure that your finances are in the right place. If you have fears or concerns, don’t ignore them. Instead, face them head on, looking for sound solutions to these big problems.
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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

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