Your credit history has a tremendous impact on your financial future, your ability to get credit and how much you’ll pay for loans. It can also impact your living options and employment opportunities, in some cases. The three main credit bureaus are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, all of which provide you with free credit reports on a regular basis. This gives you an opportunity to gauge your current debt and creditworthiness, as well as to identify any errors that may be impacting your credit score.
Check Your FICO Report
Your FICO score, or credit score, can range from 300-850. The higher this score is, the better your credit and creditworthiness. The most important factors in this score are payment history and revolving debt, though other factors have a medium or low impact on your score as well. Once you know your score and the factors that may be lowering it, you can focus on improving your credit for the future.
Open a Savings Account
Saving for the future is a big part of improving your finances, especially in the event you have unexpected financial emergencies that could derail your current budget. Setting up a savings account and transferring money into it regularly ensures that you’re not only saving money for the future, but it also gives you additional funds in the event of a job loss or unexpected financial issue.
Keep Up With Current Debt
Maintaining good credit is dependent on how you handle your current debt. Late payments can hurt your credit and make it more difficult for you to pay off your debt, so it’s always best to pay your minimum payments on time. If you’re able to pay more than the minimum each month, it can get your debt get paid off faster and reduce the total interest you pay.
Save for Retirement
Your retirement savings impact your financial success in the future. Ideally, you should save at least 15 percent of your income over your career, but if that’s not possible, start with what you can and increase the percentage if you get a raise or bonus.
Review Your W-4
The W-4 is the form you fill out when you start a new job, and it indicates how much is withheld for taxes. If you want more take-home pay and less of a tax refund, you can adjust your withholdings. You should also review these forms if you have a child or get married, since that impacts your taxes.
Check Social Security
You can set up an online account at ssa.gov to check your work and income history and get an idea of what types of benefits you’ll be entitled to upon retirement. This is also important to make sure there aren’t any errors that could affect your benefits.
Open an IRA
An individual retirement account (IRA) is a good way to put money toward your retirement without a traditional 401(k). Anyone with earned income can use an IRA, and unlike an account sponsored by an employer, an IRA offers unlimited investment choices independent of a specific employer.
Set Short-Term Goals
If you’re dealing with significant debt and feeling overwhelmed, set short-term goals for your finances to make them more manageable. For example, you could set one goal for the year, such as paying off credit cards or having a certain dollar amount in your savings account, so you can tackle your financial issues one at a time.
Limit Discretionary Spending
Lifestyle expenses like eating dinner out or shopping for unnecessary items can put a dent in the money you can devote to credit debt or savings. While you don’t need to stop enjoying yourself completely, it’s a good idea to limit your discretionary spending as much as you can to put more of your income toward your financial goals. For example, something as simple as skipping your morning coffee at a coffee shop or bringing your lunch to work each day can add up at the end of the month.
Get Help From Koster Cash Loans
With just a little effort and commitment, you can get your finances on track and ensure you’re prepared for the future. If you’re looking to get your finances in order, Koster Cash Loans can help. We offer installment loans to help you recover from an unexpected financial emergency or mistake, so you can work toward improving your financial future. Give us a call or fill out a quick and easy application to get started!