Most people make New year’s resolutions, so why not banks? Southern Bancorp’s New Year’s resolution is to be wealth builders for everyone. This year we want to help you save for the future, pay off debt, rebuild credit, buy a home or start the business you’ve been dreaming about. Check out our six tips to put you on the path to wealth building in 2018.
1. Start Saving Now
Make your savings goal specific and measurable. Don’t just say that you’re going to save more this year. Name a specific amount you’re going to save and the date you’ll save it by. If you get paid via direct deposit, save consistently by having your money split between your savings and checking account.
Even small dollar amounts can add up and help you achieve your savings goal. Southern offers Round-Up Savings, which rounds your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar or the amount of your choosing, then deposits the extra money into your savings account. Find the right Savings Account for you.
2. Monitor & Build Your Credit
Credit plays a critical role in building wealth. Whenever you use credit, take out a loan and make or miss a payment, that activity is reported to credit agencies, and kept on file for seven years.
Many companies determine whether they want you as a customer and how much to charge you based on your credit history. Occasionally, companies make mistakes when reporting your credit activities and this could negatively affect your future credit capacity. When was the last time you checked your credit report?
Pull your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you need assistance pulling the report come into any Southern Bancorp branch. We will not only help you pull the report, but we’ll provide a credit report review checklist as well.
If you find that your credit is not in the best standing, don’t be discouraged. Southern Bancorp offers a variety of Credit Building and Repair Services ranging from Credit Builder CDs to credit counseling.
3. Reduce Debt
Improve your credit by paying off debt. Find out the different types of debt you have, the total amount you owe, and the interest rate for each debt. If possible, consolidate your debt with 0% balance transfers or student loan refinancing.
Southern’s credit counselors can also help you create a plan to pay off debt and improve your credit history. Download Debt Getting in Your Way to get a handle on your debt today.
4. Create a Budget and Track Expenses
Create a monthly budget to avoid overspending and getting behind on bills. Include everything you expect to spend money on in that month.
Rent, car note and insurance are due at the same time each month, so they’re easy to remember to include in your budget. However, you may forget to include expenses like eating out, fuel and entertainment. Start keeping track of your daily expenses so that you’ll have an idea of everything your budget should cover.
If your expenses outweigh your income, cut out the non-necessities. For help creating a budget and paying your bills on time, download Behind on Bills or pick up a copy at the Opportunity Center in your favorite Southern Bancorp branch.
5. Choose Paper over Plastic
Swiping credit/debit cards is more convenient than counting out cash. However, mindlessly swiping makes you unaware of how much you’re spending, which leads to going over budget. Although using cash isn’t always convenient, it helps you track how much you’re spending.
Give your credit cards a break, and use your debit card for major necessities only. Limit yourself to a certain amount of cash each week ($50-100) and you will likely rethink some purchases. Download Money Matters for help with following through on a personal spending plan.
6. Invest in Yourself
Saving money, improving your credit and paying off debt is the foundation of wealth building. Once you’ve done these things you will be able to invest in yourself, and others will also be willing to invest. You will have the credit history to be approved for a small business or home loan and the money management skills to successfully run your business and pay your mortgage on time.
Let 2018 be the year you change your financial future. Remember, wealth building isn’t just for the wealthy. Contact us today to learn how we can get you started, no matter your goal.