Family Budgeting for Financial Confidence
Is improving your family’s finances one of your goals for 2016? If so, abiding by a few simple financial principles can help. Check out these tips from our friends at Thrivent Financial:
1. Spend less than you make: A recent Money Mindset Report* from Thrivent Financial found that “only 27 percent of Americans are very confident they are making the right decisions with their money and the same percent admit they currently live above their financial means.” Living within your means sounds good, but can be hard when bills and expenses for school, teams, music lessons, you name it, add up so quickly. Manage your family’s budget and spending with online tools like the Home Budget Calculator from Thrivent Federal Credit Union. Plus, members of the Thrivent Federal Credit Union have free access to FinanceWorks™, an online tool to track spending, create budgets, review spending and saving habits and more.
2. Be wise with debt: Prioritize paying down debt and work hard to minimize credit card debt by paying off your balance each month if possible. If your wallet is full of credit cards, resolve this year to pare down to just one or two - making it easier to keep track of balances and due dates. Check with your credit card companies about “pay off” amounts so you’re not stuck with a last-minute interest charge; and get fresh balance numbers on outstanding student, car and home loans to build a comprehensive long-term pay-off strategy with your spouse.
3. Protect yourself against setbacks: Emergencies, illnesses and injuries can have major financial consequences. The Thrivent Financial survey found that 32 percent of Americans don’t have an emergency fund, 53 percent don’t have life insurance and 89 percent don’t have disability income insurance. Whether you call it a “rainy day fund” or the “emergency stash,” setting aside some dollars every month for emergencies is wise planning. And don’t overlook the protection insurance can provide – a little knowledge goes a long way! Learn more
4. Have a short and long-term plan: If you’re like most people, you have many financial goals — building a nest egg, saving for your kids’ education, preparing for retirement, etc. But it’s hard to achieve goals without a plan. While your long-term goals may seem overwhelming, a good practice is to identify two to three actions you can act on this year to get your family on track for the long term. For help, consider working with a Thrivent Financial representative who can help you implement financial strategies that reflect your values. Read more
5. Give back: Survey results from the 2015 Money Mindset Report showed that more than 1 in 3 Americans (35 percent) think the purpose of the money they make is to give back – whether during their lifetime or after. Giving back is a key healthy money habit and a great way to engage kids in family finances. Living generously can take many forms: sharing an offering at church, setting up a monthly donation for a favorite nonprofit or volunteering your time. You may wonder how you can manage to give when family budgets are tight. Check out these planning ideas.
More about Thrivent Financial:
Thrivent Financial’s unique approach blends faith, finances and generosity. No matter how much money you have, Thrivent offers products, tools and sound financial guidance to help you feel comfortable and confident with your finances. It's not just about making more, it's about doing more – for your family, your church and your community. Learn more about saving, spending and sharing as well as unique volunteer opportunities to make a difference in your community. Click here
* The Thrivent Financial 2015 Money Mindset Report, conducted in partnership with Wakefield Research, surveyed 1,001 U.S. adults ages 18+ to learn more about Americans’ relationship with money, including how they make decisions when it comes to their personal finances, giving back to others and the role of faith in their finances.