About 40% of stress (in the Gulf) is caused by financial situations. This suggests many of us have trouble balancing unexpected expenses and planning for the future, two key elements of financial wellness.
Assessing your financial situation and figuring out how to take control of your money may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, you can get started with just 3 simple steps.
- Put together a budget. Following a plan for how you spend your money each month can help you live within your means. Start by listing out your monthly income and recurring expenses like home and car payments, utilities, groceries, insurance, etc. This will help you determine how much money you’ll have leftover to save, pay off debts or use for discretionary expenses like entertainment, clothes and dining out. Here’s a great tool to get you started.
- Create an emergency fund. Forty percent of us couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense without selling something or borrowing money. Protect yourself by setting aside 3 to 6 months of income to cover unexpected bills or something more serious, like a job loss or major household repair.
- Utilize your workplace benefits. Reach out to your Human Resources department to learn about your voluntary benefit options. Benefits such as disability and accident insurance can provide a financial cushion if you are injured or too sick to work. Also, an increasing number of employers are offering financial wellness programs that can help you learn more about your finances and put practices in place to manage them more effectively.
The key to improving your financial health is to remember it’s a process. It won’t happen overnight. Like any other meaningful goal, it takes time and effort. But, by starting today with these basic steps and staying focused, you’ll be on the path to making your financial wellness a reality.