Articles in this issue:
Walk and Talk with Brian
Staff Recognized at Foreman Meeting
In appreciation to several years of loyal and dedicated service to Collins Electrical Company, Inc., a good group of foreman and various staff were individually recognized last week, Thursday, November 4th at our Metro Branch’s Foreman Meeting. Years of continuous service ranged from 8 to an amazing 30+ years with our company! Congratulations to them all!
How Financially Fit are You?
Some Facts (according to BenefitsPro):
• The average American will spend over $600,000 in interest over the course of their lifetime. That same American household has an average of $15,863 in credit card debt.
• Two-thirds of the U.S. population claims to live paycheck to paycheck, with 22 percent of those people earning six figures.
• Just because a person might make a lot of money, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in a good financial situation.
Below are some tips for getting your money management under control. Knowledge is power. Even taking small steps can provide you with positive financial rewards.
Assess your cash flow
Before you can do anything with your financial structure you have to understand how much money you have and where your money is going. It’s important to eliminate areas that are bleeding cash–eating out, buying excess groceries, or impulse buys (for example “one-click” buys on Amazon). You can create a simple spreadsheet or just look at your credit card statement and code each purchase (food, entertainment, utilities, auto, travel, grooming, hobbies, gifts).
You might also check out an online tool such as Mint.com. Mint is free, web-based, and was one of the first free, web-based personal finance tools to plug in to all of your banks, investments, retirement funds, credit cards, and other financial accounts to quickly give you a complete picture of your financial health. It lets you see all of your money, where it’s going and how much you are spending on what type of purchases. Mint does not touch your money itself, but can be a powerful tool to understanding your financial fingerprint.
Create a realistic budget
Your budget must be realistic. It’s important to understand what is a want and what is a true need, and budget for both. It’s also important to get prepared and comfortable with saying no. Our financial situation is built on the quality of the financial behaviors we adopt—financial habits, like all habits can be tough to break.
You may want to check out something like BudgetSimple — a free budgeting and personal finance tool that focuses on making sure you have a budget that works for you. The tool will analyze your finances and provide a budget planner with suggestions for where you might save money, trim your spending, and increase your savings.
Pay yourself first
Part of your budget should be paying yourself. Start with an emergency fund. Make sure you are covered when life happens so you don’t have to use a credit card or a cash advance store.
After you have filled your emergency fund (aim for at least $1,000), you may want to start a bucket savings account for a short or long-term goal you have. Maybe it’s braces, or a new bicycle, or a trip to Hawaii. Your savings goals don’t have to be boring. Save for things that inspires you.
Pay off bad debt
There is a difference between good and bad debt. A mortgage on your primary residence at 3.5 percent is good debt. A credit card from a local retail store with a 24.99 percent interest rate and a $500 balance is an example of bad debt.
Eliminating the credit card debt is the next step after you have funded your emergency fund. Paying off debts can be part of your savings goals. Getting a $3,000 credit card debt down to zero balance is just as rewarding as saving that same amount of money. Paying off these bills will save you money in interest and boost your credit, too.
Know your score
Most people are scared to death to look at their credit score. Don’t be.
It’s a good idea to look at your score and full report at least once per year. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. You can request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year.
A good credit score helps to get the best rates available when we need to borrow money. Your score is important. Pay your bills on time, keep your credit card balances below 30 percent of the available credit, keep open your oldest line of credit, and pay off small, annoying balances.