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Taking the time to set goals today allows you to achieve what you want in the future.
Set specific goals
Financial goals should be specific. For example, wanting to save $1,000,000 for retirement by age 60 is a goal, but wanting to be rich is just a wish. Before you start to save, determine exactly what you want, when you want it, and how much it will cost.
There are three basic goal types:
- Short-term (achievable in under a year)
- Mid-term (achievable in one to five years)
- Long-term (achievable in five-plus years).
If you have multiple goals, you may choose to work toward them all at once or concentrate on one and then move to the next. For short and mid-term goals, the calculation for how much you need to set aside each month is simple: the cost minus the amount you have saved so far divided by the number of months you have to save.
Example: The laptop computer you want is $800, and you would like it in six months. You have not saved anything yet. To reach this goal, you will need to set aside $133 per month ($800/6 = $133).
Long-term goals are a little more complicated because you can deposit your savings into an investment vehicle and earn interest, which will help you achieve your final savings goal. (You can do this for short-term goals too, but the interest earned is usually minimal.)
Whatever you are saving for will also likely cost more in the future because of inflation (the gradual rise in the cost of goods and services over time).
Example: Your goal is to save $10,000 in ten years for your child's higher education. If the annual rate of return (interest) averages five percent, you will need to set aside $64.40 each month.
Creating a budget will help you determine how much you can afford to save each month for your goals. If you simply can't manage to put away the amount you thought you could, don't give up. Consider if you can extend the goal achievement date or set a similar goal that is cheaper. Perhaps a $5,000 Caribbean cruise is not doable, but you can save $2,000 for a vacation in Florida.
Being organized is essential to efficient money management. Once all of your information and paperwork is in order and accessible, you'll never have to waste time searching for important documents, wondering about account balances, or missing bill-payment deadlines.
Designate a personal money space
Set up an area in your home where you can conduct all of your personal financial business. Ideally, it should be near your computer and file cabinet.
Have the right home office tools
You can organize your personal finances with just a few home office tools:
File cabinet – File receipts, warranties, tax returns and supporting documents, paid bills, and account statements so you can quickly access them. (Ongoing accounts should have their own folder.) File cabinets come in a variety of sizes, so you do not need a ton of space to stay organized.
Shredder – To guard against identity theft, invest in a shredder (preferably one with a "cross cut" feature, where instead of slicing the paper into strips, it cuts at various angles). Use it to destroy all personal and financial documents before you discard them. Specific items that you should shred include:
- ATM receipts
- Account statements
- Canceled and voided checks,
- Credit reports
- Employment pay stubs and records
- Expired passports and visas
- Expired credit, debit, and ATM cards
- Pre-approved credit card applications
- Fireproof safe – In a home safe or firebox, keep:
- Insurance policy documents
- Deeds/titles for your home, car, and other real property
- Estate-planning documents (such as your will and power of attorney)
- The key to your safe deposit box
- Birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, and Social Security card
The more incoming paperwork you have, the harder it is to keep straight. A great way to simplify your system is to sign up for online e-statements. It cuts down on mailed bills that can get lost in the mail or a shuffle of paperwork and reduces your vulnerability to identity theft. It is also a good idea to scan important documents, such as titles and receipts for large-ticket items, onto your computer. This way, you will have a backup in case the original documents are destroyed or lost.
Create a personal financial directory
Having a financial directory, which lists all of your account information, makes it easier for someone to cancel your accounts or otherwise manage your finances if you are not able to. (It can also come in handy if you, for example, lose your wallet or forget a password.)
Think about all of the accounts and obligations you have, including a mortgage or rent, loans, credit cards, utilities, checking and savings accounts, investments, retirement funds, and insurance. Using the Personal Financial Information Organizer or a piece of paper, for each item list the account number, who it is with, contact information for the company, online username and password, location of statements, and monthly payment and due date (if applicable). Also include the name and contact information for any financial advisors, such as an accountant or insurance agent. Put the list in your fireproof box, and let a trusted friend or relative know where it is. Periodically revisit the list to make sure it is up-to-date.
How long should documents be saved?
- Receipts for minor purchases can be tossed after you have checked them against your monthly account statement. Receipts for major purchases should be saved as long as you have the items. Receipts for tax-deductible items should be saved with your tax return.
- Utility, credit card, checking, and savings account statements should be saved for a year.
- Monthly and quarterly investment account statements should be saved until the year-end statement is received. Year-end statements should be kept until the investment is sold.
- Paystubs should be held until you receive your W-2.
- Loan documents and statements should be saved until the loan is paid off. The last statement that shows the loan was paid should be saved permanently.
- Tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, and other tax-related documents should be saved for seven years.
- Insurance policies and estate-planning documents should be saved as long as they are in effect.
- Titles to property should be kept as long as you own the property.
- Your birth certificate, medical records, Social Security card, and marriage certificate should be saved permanently.
Popmoney For You!
- Popmoney is a service that makes it truly simple to send money to anyone in the U.S. All you need is their email address or mobile phone number.
- So whether it's sending money to your kids at school, home to mom, or just that $40 you owe your friend, Popmoney gives you a quick, easy and safe way to do it. You can even send money to people who aren't Seasons FCU members. It is, after all, meant to make your life easier.
- To use Popmoney, just log into home banking and click on the Popmoney tab to get started. For an online tutorial, click here. And when we say easy, we're not kidding!
Growing Our Mustaches for Movember
With the end of November, our Movember campaign for 2013 came to a close and the men of Seasons Federal Credit Union are keen to celebrate their hairy success all in the name of men's health. Over the last 4 weeks, Seasons FCU raised $1,240 in donations and sponsorship, through support from employees, local community, friends and family.
Seasons received a great publicity opportunity by having our employee, Dillon Tardif, go on Better Connecticut and have his mustache shaved off on Live Television. Dillon says, "I will miss my mustache but couldn't have a better way to end our Movember campaign".
We have received such positive support from our members over the duration of the Movember campaign and it's fantastic to see so many male employees supporting their unique Mo's for this worthwhile cause. We've grown so accustomed to the Mo's around the office, however with November over, many are keen for the return to clean-shaven faces.
"Take Back Your Banking"- National Gas Giveaway
Seasons Federal Credit Union was proud to take part in the "Take Back Your Banking" National Gas Giveaway. Along other community banks and credit unions across the country, we were out in the community talking with people about making better banking choices and getting them pumped up about our Kasasa checking accounts.
2013 – Annual Meeting of Members
- Thank you all who attended our Annual Meeting of Members. We had a great turnout of attendance.
- Congratulations to our 8 scholarship winners who were awarded their scholarship and the opportunity to share with us their next move in their future. We wish everyone all the best with their future endeavors.
Caroline Barton, Emily Imbruglio, Claire LaRoche, Thomas McNeff, Ashley O'Brien, Evan Pennington, Jaclyn Vitelli and Heather Zambrello