6 Steps to Your Financial Wellness Plan

June 06, 2023

According to the S&P Global FinLit Survey, 43% of Americans are financially illiterate. If you fall into this category, don’t fret! We at Heartland Bank have an easy 6-step plan to help you improve your financial wellness!

Just imagine a life where financial stress no longer weighs you down, where you can confidently make money decisions, and have the confidence to seize opportunities that get you closer to your dreams. This is the power of financial literacy. And in this article, we’ll give you the understanding and skills needed to manage your finances effectively, allowing you to take control of your present and shape your financial future. Let’s begin:

Step 1: Get to Know Your Finances
Do you now how much money you are bringing in? Do you know your total household expenses? Review all your expenses and determine where you can make cuts. Write down all your bills, from necessary ones to indulgent ones: do you need 4-5 streaming services? Did you know you even had that many?

Step 2: Figure Out Your Financial Goals
Set short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. How realistic are these goals? Are they SMART goals? (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.)

Step 3: Set Up Your Plan/Budget

Knowing what you bring in and how you are spending it will help you set up your financial road map to reach your goals. Find ways to save money: use couponing or shopping apps that help you earn money back, shop around for lower interest rates for loans and higher interest rates on checking/savings accounts, re-negotiate insurance premiums.

Step 4: Savings
Did you include yourself in the budget? Make sure you pay yourself first; start with what you can afford, then adjust as you go! If you have the ability to transfer money to savings automatically, do it! Even small amounts that are out of sight, out of mind, can accumulate quite a bit in a short period of time.

Step 5: Review the Plan
After 3 months, go back and review your budget. Is there something that is taking you off course? Can you adjust for it? Is everyone in the household sticking to the plan and goals?

Step 6: Keep Learning!
Once you’ve become comfortable with managing your money and financial behaviors, move on to learning more about your financial well-being. Do you know what your credit report looks like? Are you thinking about investing or saving for retirement? Find resources to keep you going on your financial journey. Attend a homebuyer’s seminar or a presentation about retirement options.

Becoming financially literate does not need to be an all-consuming endeavor, but it should give you the tools to handle everyday expenses and unsuspecting costs. Focusing some time on your financial wellness helps to ease financial stress, so take time to enjoy the journey and not rush through the process.

Remember, becoming financially literate does not equate to immediate financial wellness. It does take time, but by managing what you can control, you can save yourself some stress. Find free resources, like the FDIC Financial Education Center, and watch out for scams, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

This content is for informational purposes only. Readers should under no circumstances rely upon this information as a substitute for their own research or for obtaining specific advice from their own counsel.