(STL.News) Are you ready to get your finances in top shape but aren’t sure exactly where to begin? For many working who want to straighten out their financial life, the most effective first step is to eliminate high-interest debt, the kind that usually accompanies credit card accounts. After that, consider cutting down your monthly expenses by refinancing student loans.
The beauty of attending to your financial health is that you can do a lot in a short period of time. For instance, it only takes about six months to improve credit scores, no matter how low they are or how much you owe. Likewise, anyone can open a small savings account in a matter of minutes and be on the way to building an emergency fund. While you’re at it, don’t forget to make sure all your valuable assets are insured. There’s nothing more discouraging than lacking coverage on something that becomes lost, gets stolen, or is damaged in a fire or flood. But credit card debt should be your first order of business. Here’s how to get motivated.
Stop Incurring High-Interest Debt
If you are paying on one or more high-interest credit cards, you have plenty of room for improvement in your financial life. One way to begin to eliminate plastic-related interest is to stop using credit cards. The follow-up move is to pay off all card balances to zero as soon as you can. After that, only use cards for emergencies and pay all balances in full on the due date. The goal here is not to slice up your plastic and never use cards again. The aim is to stop paying interest on balances.
Lower Monthly Expenses ASAP
One of the most effective ways to improve your financial standing is to reduce monthly expenses. For those who owe on multiple student loans, refinancing through a private lender is a worthwhile option. Not only can you apply online in a matter of minutes, but when you work with a private lender, you have the chance to obtain better terms and more competitive rates on the new, refinanced loan. People who choose to refinance typically enjoy more than just a lower monthly cash outflow. They no longer have to track several school loans, all of which have different due dates, terms, and interest rates.
Work on Your Credit Scores
Within about six months, most working adults can significantly boost their credit scores by paying all bills on time, reducing outstanding debt on retail accounts, and correcting any errors that show up on bureau reports. A related tactic is to avoid the temptation to make any major purchases on credit. Be patient and let the bureaus slowly collect your most recent data and feed it into the reports. Check your scores every few months to monitor improvements.
Insure All Valuable Assets
Speak with an insurance professional to make sure you have the right amount of coverage on your home, vehicles, life, and business. It’s common for many to either have too much insurance or too little on the things they own. Likewise, working folks typically need more life insurance than they suspect.