3 Questions about Managing Money
- April 13, 2022
Asking questions about managing money can be a great way to gain wisdom and insight.
When we think of our financial health and wellness, questions can help us find new solutions.
As an example, many of the calls we receive are from people who have questions about their individual finances – from debt management and spending habits to budgeting for everyday expenses. Our counselors take the time to understand each person’s specific situation and guide them through options that work for them.
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It is in that spirit that we offer three questions about your financial health.
- What is it about the times we are living in that make financial health and money management so important?
- What are the biggest opportunities people have regarding improving financial health and wellness?
- What are specific actions people can take who are looking to better manage debt?
Read below to see the most common questions people have about managing money, with some ideas people can use to begin understanding options to figure out their finances.
What is it about the times we are living in that make financial health and money management so important?
The recent years of the pandemic, with economic impacts such as rising inflation and expensive housing, are a challenging time for managing household finances.
People may be experiencing changes in income, perhaps a temporary reduction in hours or pay, or other financial trouble.
Many of us relied on the now expired relief programs such as the Advanced Tax Credit, credit card deferments offered by creditors, deferrals on student loan payments, temporary mortgage forbearance and other relief related to debt. The end of these programs might contribute to uncertainty when it comes to meeting a financial goal related to saving, preparing for retirement, building up an emergency fund or other improvements to the health of our personal finance.
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Many people are looking to understand how to manage monthly payments when relief ended, as well as how to handle any increases in consumer credit card balances.
So the times we are living in, with all the uncertainty, make prioritizing monthly expenses important to get a solid footing on money management and financial health.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about managing finances, including getting a handle on high credit card balances, understanding their options when facing foreclosure, or other issues, is that they must face the challenges alone.
People don’t have to face their financial stresses alone.
A financial counseling session is a chance for people to work one on one with a certified, HUD-approved counselor to understand their full financial situation, and get a specific action plan that works for their unique situation.
Housing costs are especially challenging. For those trying to avoid foreclosure, for instance, a certified HUD housing counselor is a powerful resource to understand the specific options to take. They can provide information about mortgage repayment options, engage with mortgage servicers or provide other solutions.
Another issue specific to the times we are facing is the challenge to keep up with savings goals, which helps when it comes time for financial goal setting.
Setting and sticking to a realistic savings plan is a key component of financial fitness. You can automate savings directly from your employer or put into place other tricks to make it a seamless savings process.
No matter the amount, setting aside a budget-friendly amount each month for savings builds fitness and financial health.
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What are specific actions people can take who are looking to better manage debt?
A secure financial future depends on building healthy habits, especially around credit and debt.
How many consumer credit cards do you have? Do you know the interest rate for each one? As well as your outstanding balances? How much student loan debt do you have? What’s the interest rate? Would it be beneficial for you to refinance your home? These are the kinds of questions you must know the answer to if you are going to manage your debt.
Whenever you take on debt, there are usually options for repayment and interest terms for you to choose from. What might seem like minor details could mean a difference of several thousands of dollars, so make sure to shop around for the best deal available and know the implications of the terms you are choosing. If you don’t know what certain terms mean or how they could impact you, don’t rush into a decision.
None of this to say that all debt is bad debt. In fact, there is such a thing as good debt that you take on to finance the purchase of assets that could add value over time, such as starting a business, buying a home, or getting an education. But bad debt, with very high interest rates and obtained for something that adds no value over time, is something you should avoid taking on whenever possible, as it is counterproductive to our goal of building wealth.
And when it comes to credit history and credit scores, you can take action by knowing your numbers.
To get smart about credit, it involves taking the time to pull reports that show your full credit history, and your current credit score.
Having a healthy credit score means you get favorable interest rates on any loans you might be thinking of applying for – like a car loan or mortgage.
We advise our clients to pull their credit report regularly to understand what is being reported, and if needed to check for errors.
Annualcreditreport.com allows weekly updates of all three credit bureaus. If something’s inaccurate, talk to your creditors first. If needed, dispute with credit bureaus.
Another action you can take is accessing support from a national nonprofit like GreenPath. Our certified counselors help you begin a conversation about where you are today, and what you need to accomplish your goals.
We listen with respect, offer advice and information, and suggest products or services that could help you meet your needs.
GreenPath financial counseling services help anyone who wants to manage their expenses, improve their financial health, figure out their household finances, and make a personal plan to achieve financial goals.
Have Questions About Managing Money?
It’s been said that those who ask the best questions come up with successful ideas.
The questions offered above are just a start, suggested as a way to consider asking specific questions about your financial situation.
Whether its overwhelming consumer debt or student loan balances, or issues with keeping up with housing costs, the fix is not going to happen overnight.
Having a trusted resource, advice, or action plan with tried and true strategies can propel people toward financial health.
GreenPath is Here for You
At GreenPath Financial Wellness, we are working to make it easier for everyone to achieve financial health. We can help you gain a better understanding of your spending habits, and work with you to create a budget to help you achieve your dreams.
GreenPath financial counselors are kind and caring. We can help you understand your finances and make a plan to meet your goals. It’s free, confidential and no pressure!