By, State Treasurer, Thomas Beadle
Spring is a perfect time to check in. Coming out of winter, we hope that your mood and mental wellness are on the upswing. Hopefully your New Year Exercise resolution has your physical wellness improving. I hope you take this time to also be checking in on your financial wellness.
While it is important to always be tracking and monitoring your personal financial situation, be sure to take a step back and reflect on where you are at now and make a plan to improve going forward.
April is celebrated by many financial planners as Financial Literacy Month. While Americans are looking at their tax situation and reflecting on the last year, this becomes a perfect time to review your financial wellness.
According to PwC’s annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, financial or money challenges accounts for 54% of the stress their employees face every day. Financial troubles are one of the top issues for people across North Dakota and throughout America, and the stress can lead to anxiety issues, depression, and can strain relationships. If you’re one of the many who deal with financial stress, know that you are not alone.
Take advantage of spring being a time of renewal and rebirth and do some spring cleaning on your finances. Start by assessing your finances, checking your credit score and recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have any savings in case of emergencies? Are you spending too much on eating out? Have you already made some small changes like cutting back on your daily $6 gourmet beverage? Be honest with yourself.
Identify a starting point of some simple tasks you can take care of and clear out your clutter to make sure you aren’t paying for subscription services or memberships that don’t give you value. Is Student Debt an issue? Visit BND.ND.gov/studentloans and learn about the low interest loan programs that are available for North Dakotans. If debt is an issue, fully assess your current situation and make plans to pay down your higher interest balances first or look for ways to take advantage of low interest rates and refinance.
Give yourself some specific, measurable and achievable goals, not only for the short-term but for the long-term as well. Whether you are fresh out of school and on your own for the first time, or an empty nester planning for the future, writing down priorities and having a financial plan will help you stay on track.