Take charge of your financial health

Make a New Year’s resolution to organize and protect your records
Take charge of your financial health

Tracking monthly expenses helps you know where your money is going, and where you can cut back if needed.

Stress over financial matters can affect both your health and your family's well-being. For this new year, resolve to reduce stress by following these tips.

Safely store these documents

Over time, you accumulate all sorts of important papers from medical histories to bills and insurance information. It's a good idea to keep these important documents in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or fire-proof strong box. Here are items you'll want to store safely and be able to retrieve quickly:

  • Insurance plan information – life, health, dental, home owners, renters, auto, boat, etc.
  • Mortgage information.
  • Tax information — returns, purchase and charitable contribution receipts.
  • Investment paperwork — savings, stocks, bonds and retirement records.
  • Will and trust or health care directives.

How long do you keep paperwork?

Keep ATM receipts for a month, and paycheck stubs, bills, credit card, bank and investment statements for a year. Hold on to tax returns, medical bills, mortgage and home records longer (three to seven years).

Set a monthly budget

It's important to keep track of your finances and what you're spending money on in order to determine where you can cut back. Keep an accurate account of your finances for several months, then start trimming expenses where possible. There are excellent software packages available to help you keep your income and expenses balanced.

A savings budget

Whether it's for your children's college tuition, a home down payment or for retirement, it's important to make your savings goal part of your monthly budget. Set aside a regular amount, even if it's only $20 a month — starting as early as you can.

Keep an emergency fund

Financial emergencies can happen when you least expect them. Instead of adding to your debt through a credit card withdrawal or bank loan, keep an amount equal to six months expenses on hand. Get started by arranging a bi-weekly or monthly automatic transfer into your savings account.

Life insurance

If the unexpected happens, you want to know your family is safe, and that includes your finances. Foresters is among life insurance organizations that offer a range of member benefits that support overall family well-being sold by independent agents in North Carolina. It suggests asking a life insurance professional for help in selecting the coverage best suited for your family circumstances.

Check your credit score

Good credit opens many doors — auto and home ownership, backup credit lines, even co-signing your child's student loans can be influenced by your credit score.

—Family Features.com

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