Unhealthy finances can lead to the kind of anxiety that makes one ill. Working toward financial security can help alleviate some of that stress.
“A couple of pieces of advice most financial planners recommend is to create a budget on what your net earnings or take-home pay is and to track where you spend your money,” said John Holcomb, town manager and finance director for the town of Elkin.
Saving receipts for every single purchase can help track spending. Some financial planners suggest keeping a continuous log in a notebook or note in a cell phone so that it is easy to carry at all times.
It is important to not cheat, counting every cup of coffee and stop for snacks as well as home and hospital bill.
“This can be an eye-opening exercise when we see where our payroll checks actually go,” said Holcomb. “It can also help prevent living beyond our means.”
Learning what those means are is part of living a health financial lifestyle. Locals who have challenges setting a budget can join Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity families completing a class.
“One of the most effective classes we offer at Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat is Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey,” said Mortgage and Family Services Director for UYVHFH Tom Bauguess.
“All of our partner families are required to take Financial Peace University Classes as part of our education program,” said Bauguess.
One of the goals of Habitat is to help families maintain their homes as well as helping them purchase and prepare a house.
Another goal is to enhance the local community, which is why, for a small fee, the class is also available to the public.
“Anyone can benefit from the classes whether you are just entering the work force, a first-time homebuyer, or at any point in your life,” said Bauguess.
“The class teaches you how to make a budget and how to stick to it [as well as] how to get rid of debit and how to save for the future.”
Saving for the future is an important part of budgeting well.
“I would also recommend to pay yourself first,” said Holcomb. “By that I mean to first set aside a portion of your net earnings into a savings account or other investment product. Also diversify and only invest in quality investments and stock.”
One of those investments can be one’s own retirement.
“Participate in your employer’s retirement plan if they have one,” said Holcomb, noting many employers match employee contributions. “The goal here is to maximize the contribution your employer makes to your long-term retirement.”
Until retirement, it is always good to be prepared for possible emergencies.
“Try to work towards eventually saving at least three months of living expenses for those possible emergencies that come up,” said Holcomb.
“Be patient, this can take time, but take that first step. It is an important one.”
This applies to the entire budgeting process, from the planning stages to living a financially-healthy lifestyle.
According to the Financial Peace University Class certificate, “It’s up to you to live and walk in financial peace.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.