Banking & PERSONAL FINANCE
A Blank Slate Media Special Section â€¢ Januar y 8, 2021
20 GUIDE TO BANKING & PERSONAL FINANCE â€˘ Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, January 8, 2021
Start thinking about ďŹ nancial planning now
inancial planning has become a catchphrase in recent years, and itâ€™s something many consumers may not fully understand. Learning some key components of financial planning can help people have more capital on hand to help them achieve their shortand long-term goals.
A 2018 study commissioned by GuideVine that polled 1,000 Americans 30 and older about their finances found that many lack knowledge of basic financial terms. In addition, the study found that numerous people feel completely lost in regard to having a solid plan with their money. Financial planning can be intimidating, but learning the basics of sound money management can help people secure their financial futures. According to the online learning resource WiseGeek, financial planning is a process of setting objectives, assessing assets and resources, estimating future financial needs, and making plans to achieve financial goals. Investing, risk management, retirement planning, tax requirements, and estate planning are key components of financial planning.
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To get started with financial planning, the financial guide and online resource Ramsey says individuals will need to see where they stand financially, establish financial goals and create a plan to reach those goals. While a person can create his or her own financial plan, oftentimes the help of a financial planner can make sure that all avenues are being explored, especially for financial novices. Itâ€™s important to note that financial planning may mean different things to different people. For some, planning may revolve around saving for a childâ€™s college tuition but still having enough money left to retire. Another person may be looking to save extra money to invest in a business venture. Others who are living paycheck to paycheck may need help reevaluating their spending so they can grow their savings. One of the key components of financial planning is to begin doing it as soon as possible. A financial plan can be instituted at any age, and goals can be revisited as life changes occur. Financial planning strategies are something anyone can learn and utilize to secure their financial futures.
News Times Newspapers, Friday, January 8, 2021 • GUIDE TO BANKING & PERSONAL FINANCE
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22 GUIDE TO BANKING & PERSONAL FINANCE • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, January 8, 2021
How to prioritize your bills during the pandemic A
s recently as February, few people might have expected 2020 to unfold the way it has. A thriving economy and low unemployment numbers helped 2020 start off on a prosperous foot. But by mid-March, uncertainty set in. The World Health Organization declared a COVID-19 pandemic in March, and the ripple effects of that were profound. Since the novel coronavirus began spreading across the globe, millions of people have lost their lives, millions more have survived the virus after lengthy hospital stays and hundreds of millions more lost their jobs. Estimates from the International Labour Organization in June 2020 suggested as many as 400 million full-time jobs were lost due to the COVID19 outbreak.
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Such widescale job loss left millions of people wondering how they were going to pay their bills while out of work. Though there’s no magical formula to help people make it through a recession unscathed, learning to prioritize bills can help people stay on the right financial track even after losing their jobs. • Make sure the necessities come first. The credit reporting agency Experian notes that health and safety should always be a person’s top priority in a tough financial situation. Food and shelter should take precedence, so always pay for food and housing costs first. Change your eating habits to dine out less and make grocery lists before visiting the store so you’re less likely to make potentially costly impulse buys while shopping. A 2018 survey from Slickdeals.net found that 70 percent of consumers’ impulse buys are spent on food, so creating a grocery list can help people save substantial amounts of money. In regard
to housing, if you’re accustomed to paying additional principle on your mortgage each month, continue to do so only if you can still afford it. • Don’t cut costs in regard to medical care. Make sure you keep your medications up-to-date and continue to visit your health care provider. Medical debt is a substantial problem in the United States. A 2019 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that roughly two-thirds of all bankruptcies in the United States were tied to medical issues. Unemployed professionals should keep in mind that medical issues may prevent them from reentering the workforce when the economy recovers from COVID-19, so it’s imperative that medical care and maintenance continue to remain a priority even in difficult financial times. • Eliminate high-interest debt if possible. High-interest debt such as credit cards can snowball if consumers miss payments or are only capable of making minimum monthly payments. If you have been laid off or are working on reduced wages but have a sizable amount of money in savings, consider eliminating your high-interest debt. Doing so can reduce the stress stemming from the pandemic-related financial uncertainty and it also greatly reduces the amount of interest you’ll pay on bills you can afford to pay off. Many people have been forced to prioritize their bills as they confront the economic fallout of COVID-19. Prioritizing necessities and personal health can help people overcome the financial challenges of the pandemic.