7 tips to restore your financial health

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Financial health
Simple changes can have a huge impact on your financial health.

How financially healthy are we? Consider this, for every $100 in our paychecks, we lose 35% to interest; mortgage, credit cards, and loans. Add in Uncle Sam's cut, boom, another 25%, gone. It's a good time for a financial check-up before your finances go on life support.

Financial planner Tom O'Connell says many of us view financial planning like a trip to the doctor. His first step on the path to financial health, is to check your budget pressure.

"It's one thing everyone hates to do, creating a budget. People typically know what's coming in, but not what's going out," O'Connell said.

Cut the fat somewhere and start saving. Tom suggests brown bagging it for lunch twice week instead of spending $10 a day.

"Over 52 weeks you can save yourself $500 to $1,000. That's like getting 10% return on a $10,000 investment.

How the 52-Week money challenge could help you save

The 52-week challenge could help you save more than $1,000 by the end of the year.

Or you can save by spending. Millions of millennials are micro investing through mobile apps like Acorns.

Acorns squirrels away your spare change by rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar and saving or investing it.

"You're going around buying things everyday why not make part of that purchase an investment," said Noah Kerner, Acorns CEO.

Kerner says the fast, easy app encourages saving from a young age. The small rounds up can help build emergency fund money in case your have an unexpected "financial 9-1-1."

"Sixty percent of Americans don't have $1,000 in an emergency fund," said Kerner. "Which means if they have a hospital visit or they need a car repair, they actually don't have that."

The next tip is to analyze your bloated interest rates on loans and credit cards. Did your 0% teaser rate balloon to 29%? See if you can you do a balance transfer, refinance the mortgage, or be your own bank.

"Maybe you save enough to buy that big screen TV instead of borrowing from a credit card tor bank to buy it," said O'Connell.

Study: Millennials better at saving money than previous generations

After growing up watching the financial crisis, Millennials are setting more aside.

Next, scan your retirement health, and that means contributing as much as you can to your 401(k). The maximum you can shoot for in this calendar year is $18,500.

"The average baby boomer has less than $100,000 in their retirement plan," O'Connell said.

And lastly, no one like to think about their own death, but you should review who you've named as a beneficiary.

"People get divorced, get married, die, have kids. The last thing you want is the wrong person to be named as a beneficiary on your IRA, your 401(k) or life insurance," said O'Connell.

If you fail to name a beneficiary, any assets like IRA's or 401(k)s may be taxed in a big way, what's left of the money won't be distributed as you intended. That's why it's important to make a will.