Asking questions can be a great way to gain wisdom and insight. Spend time with younger children who are full of questions about a range of topics – why is the sky blue? for instance – and that becomes clear.
When we think of our financial health and wellness, questions can help us find new solutions, and our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness are here to help make sure that when it comes to money, you're asking the right questions. Here are three questions to ask about your financial health.
1. What is it about the times we are living in that makes financial health so important?
This ongoing pandemic is certainly impacting all of us. As a result of the economic fallout of the COVID crisis, which continues each month, people may be experiencing changes in income, perhaps a temporary reduction in hours or pay, or other uncertainties.
The temporary CARES Act relief options are also up in the air. Deferrals on student loan payments, temporary mortgage forbearance and other relief related to debt contributes to uncertainty. Many people are looking to understand how to manage monthly payments when relief ends, as well as how to handle any increases in consumer credit card balances.
So the times we are living in, with all the uncertainty, make prioritizing monthly expenses important to get a solid footing on money management and financial health. A useful resource to make sense of it all is GreenPath’s Aligning Priorities workbook.
2. What are the biggest opportunities people have regarding improving financial health and wellness?
All of us have goals when it comes to our money. For instance, recent college graduates, as well as other groups such as millennials, might be hitting key milestones in their lives: establishing careers; managing student loan debt; building credit history; perhaps considering starting a family; looking at a home purchase or thinking about other big investments. Retirees are likely looking to understand their budget on a fixed income.
Whether it’s setting a spending plan for monthly bills, understanding how to manage credit cards, or other money matters related to people’s goals, taking steps toward financial health and wellness is important.
Some of the biggest opportunities can be found with some tried and true suggestions, such as making the best use of credit cards. Other steps worth exploring include:
- Keeping receipts helps with keeping track of monthly activity.
- Having a spending plan will help you reduce the chance of impulse buying. When you have a plan, there’s less chance you will overspend on items you don’t truly need.
- Sometimes it is necessary to use credit cards to cover important expenses such as food, gasoline, and utilities. If that becomes a regular pattern, it is helpful to review your budget.
Make the most of your opportunities to improve financial health with these resources and tools.
3. What are specific actions people can take who are looking to better manage debt?
A secure financial future depends on building healthy habits, especially around credit and debt. And when it comes to credit history and credit scores, you can take action by knowing your numbers.
To get smart about credit, it involves taking the time to pull reports that show your full credit history, and your current credit score. Having a healthy credit score means you get favorable interest rates on any loans you might be thinking of applying for – like a car loan or mortgage. View an informative video for a refresher on what makes up a typical credit score.
We advise our clients to pull their credit report regularly to understand what is being reported, and if needed to check for errors. Annualcreditreport.com now allows weekly updates of all three credit bureaus. If something’s inaccurate, talk to your creditors first. If needed, dispute with credit bureaus.
Another action you can take is accessing support from a national nonprofit like GreenPath. Their certified counselors help you begin a conversation about where you are today, and what you need to accomplish your goals. As a benefit of being an HUECU member, you have access to free financial counseling through GreenPath. Their counselors listen with respect, offer advice and information, and suggest products or services that could help you meet your needs.
GreenPath financial counseling services help anyone who wants to manage their finances, improve their financial health, figure out their situation, and make a personal plan to achieve financial goals.
Have More Questions About Managing Money?
It’s been said that those who ask the best questions come up with successful ideas. The questions offered above are just a start, suggested as a way to consider asking specific questions about your financial situation. At HUECU, we're here for you with the resources to help you take control of your finances, create a budget, and set strong financial goals.