2020 has been a wild ride.  This pandemic has caused and continues to cause extraordinary financial challenges.  The benefits of having a plan in the case of an emergency are undeniable. We have compiled a list of simple tips and tools that can help prepare you to take on your finances in 2021.

Create a simple, achievable budget.

On average, only 1/3 of Americans maintain a budget for their household. By keeping a budget, you can track your monthly expenses and know exactly where your money is going. Financial goals can differ drastically, but whether you are trying to pay off student debt, saving for your dream wedding, or planning the construction of your new home, a budget is the most streamlined way to help you achieve your goal. Learn more about making a budget with our online budgeting tool. More resources on budgeting for your family can be found here.

Incorporate retirement into your savings plan.

Don’t know when to begin contributing to your retirement? The answer is now. Young professionals often see retirement as a distant goal and don’t put in the effort early.   According to gobankingrates.com, 56% of Americans do not have over $10,000 set aside for retirement. 

Many jobs and financial institutions have opportunities for you to begin investing in your future. There are several different investment options to help meet your goals and invest your money.   Our Planning for Retirement module covers several different options to help you get started on the path to creating a successful retirement strategy.

Building emergency savings gradually.

No one looks forward to an emergency.  It only makes the situation worse if you are not financially prepared to handle it.   After a year like 2020, it’s clear emergency savings are an essential line in everyone’s budget.  Contributing to your emergency savings can happen at a pace that works comfortably with your income and current situation.  Learn more here 

Improve and monitor your credit score.

Having a good credit score is important to your financial health.   There are things you can do to improve your credit score.   What affects your credit score, how it is calculated, and how to protect it are all covered in our credit scores and reports module.

Get a head start on filing taxes.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the only things that are certain are death and taxes.  To find out more about the different types of taxes, necessary tax forms, and how taxes affect your paycheck, check out our module on taxes here.