Own Your Finances

From Melissa: 

My work in mortgage, financial, and real estate businesses spans 40 years. I’ve been involved in reviewing thousands of applications as a Corporate Executive with one of the largest national financial institutions. I helped create and revise credit guidelines over the years, and I taught countless credit, financial, and budgeting courses for first-time home buyers.

 

The information below is a summary of some of the key elements for establishing a healthy and successful financial future, regardless of your age.

 

Tips for Financial Success

 

The inability to control your finances can be one of the major factors that disrupt your life and future.  Money management and control are essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. People who believe that when they retire, a pension plan and/or social security payments will sustain them are sadly mistaken. Unless you take control of your financial future, you will almost certainly run out of money long before you run out of life.

 

Never too Late to Turn Around Your Financial Forecast

 

It’s never too late to create a successful plan to get on the right financial track, even if you have never created a plan, or had something financially devastating happen to you or your family, lost your job, and/or lost your savings. It is not an “autopilot” situation and you can never be too young or too old to change the trajectory of your financial future, but you do have to be proactive.

 

Creating and adhering to a budget is the most important part of financial planning. You can use one of the following online financial planning software providers if you don’t have a financial planner. Some of these are free and others charge a fee.

 

  • Personal Capital – ideal program for beginners to intermediate planners, who want affordable ways to coordinate their accounts, utilize budgeting tools and plan for retirement. Free for the basic program but a charge for premium features.
  • Quicken – a well known software program geared toward intermediate to advanced planners by offering a comprehensive set of financial tools for budgeting, debt tracking, investment coaching and advising. Software packages start at 34.99 for an annual subscription.
  • Mint – offers a very simple platform of budgeting and finance tools for individuals, who prefer a less comprehensive, easy to follow mobile experience. Free.
  • eMoney Advisor – ideal for advanced financial professionals, firms and enterprises of all sizes and provides a comprehensive planning-led platform to maximize complex financial planning.  Inquire for rates/fees.
  • Money Tree – created for professional planners, advisors or business owners, who need a powerful desktop platform. Starts at $495 for an annual subscription.
  • MoneyGuidePro – for professionals who want advanced features and a fun client experience. Prices start at $1,295 for an individual annual subscription.

Before you commit to a financial planning program, make sure you view the demos and that the program addresses the following key points:

 

  • Does it have features that fit your specific needs? 
  • Is the intuitive design something you are comfortable using?
  • Is the mobile compatibility user friendly, if you are an “on the go” individual and prefer a mobile experience?

The financial program you choose will only be successful if you use it, and unless you are comfortable with the platform, features, costs and navigation abilities, you will have an uphill battle trying to force yourself to use it.

 

How Important is your Credit Score?

 

The second most important factor in Owning Your Finances is your Credit Score.  It controls so many factors, like interest rates on all types of credit you apply for, where you live, where you bank and sometimes even where you work. 

 

Once a year make sure you get a free copy of your credit report from one of the 3 repositories – Equifax, Experian or Transunion, and make sure the information being reported is accurate, and if it’s not, dispute it with the repositories who are reporting it.  

 

Credit Karma is a great mobile app to use to not only check your credit score, credit usage and payment history, but for credit offers that can help you improve your score.   

If you have any questions, please reach out to me on our Facebook page, and I will be happy to help!