Financial health is not achieved overnight. Establishing a healthy financial lifestyle takes time, knowledge and dedication. Here are the 20 steps you need to take for financial health:
1. Try to change how you feel about money – check your attitude about money and decide you are ready to change your financial situation.
2. Organize – organize income and expenses to see the whole financial picture.
3. Have copies of your credit statement - check for accuracy to identify errors or fraudulent activity.
4. Discuss any inaccurate information on your credit statement – write to the bank or financial institution if you find any errors and include any supporting documents.
5. Set financial goals – goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
6. Set short, medium and long term goals – goals vary in the time it takes to reach them.
7. Track your spending – it's important to determine where and how your money is being spent to achieve financial health.
8. Create a budget – a budget shows the flow of money in (income) and out (expense) of the household.
9. Reduce Spending – Reducing daily, weekly and monthly expenses is critical to achieving financial health and a necessary step for successful budgeting.
10. Determine your net worth – knowing your net worth will help you measure your progress. The more you save, the greater your net worth.
11. Pay off debts – calculate your monthly repayment amount and the date of completion.
12. Eliminate Unnecessary Credit Cards – The best number of credit cards depends on your ability to manage your debt and credit card payments.
13. Start a savings plan – put 10 percent of your income into a savings account every month.
14. Protect Your Assets – Check your health, auto, life, and disability insurance policies to make sure you have adequate coverage.
15. Manage Major Purchases – Before making a major purchase, consider your financial goals, budget, cash flow, and access and availability of credit.
16. Secure your financial future – investing is one way to potentially increase your net worth. Take advantage of employer investment plans.
17. Financial Checks – Check your finances periodically to make sure you are on the right track as it is easy to drop things when there is a routine and things can change.
18. Understand the Cost of Credit - Be sure to weigh your options before making a credit decision.
19. Protect Your Identity - Check your credit report for signs of identity theft, reporting errors or other red flags.
20. Be aware of the warning signs of financial trouble – some signs include checking accounts past their due date, skipping a credit card bill to pay for something else, or ignoring credit card statements.