Understanding your finances while navigating our economic environment.
The “dog days” of summer are winding down and back to school e-mails are hitting my inbox. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer season, as it typically moves by in the blink of an eye.
An economic improvement from last summer is the rate of inflation, which has dropped from 9% to 3% in this timespan. The Federal Reserve’s goal to restore price stability is working as a result of an aggressive rate hiking cycle. We’re now about 17 months since the beginning of this rate hiking cycle and I’d hypothesize that most consumers have felt some type of impact.
Expensive is the first word that comes to mind when reflecting on the price of goods and services. Although pricing relief has occurred a bit and more is ahead, we’re all still tasked with managing our personal finances on a daily basis regardless of the economic environment.
Below are a few personal finance points to consider while navigating through the current economic environment:
Frequently assess any emergency savings funds
No matter how much you prepare, setbacks can happen. Expect the unexpected with untimely service needs for plumbing, electrical, and car maintenance. Creating and maintaining a healthy emergency fund can help when these issues arise. Reserves can be stored in an accessible savings or money market account, which are providing a solid yield in this environment.
Set financial goals and understand your full financial picture
No matter the economic environment, it’s important to set your sights on your personal finance goals. Here are few to keep in mind:
- Make sure to plan for retirement. Contribute at least enough to an employer 401k plan to obtain company matching. If that’s not applicable, explore a traditional or Roth IRA.
- Understand your debt payments, related rates, and if rates are fixed or variable. Determine your monthly percentage of debt payments to take home income.
- Know your wants vs. needs. Track and analyze all other “must haves” such as utilities, groceries, gas, insurance, clothes, etc. A big screen TV doesn’t fit into this category!
- Determine what’s left for entertainment, discretionary purchases, and most importantly, wealth building!
Periodically reflect on progress versus your financial goals
There are various personal finance tracking resources in the market to assist, including our tool, Money Management. Know that perfection against your financial plan won’t occur every month. The key is to adjust and improve going forward.
At Clearview, we provide the expertise to assist with all of your personal finance needs no matter the economic environment. Connect with us when it’s convenient for you with Clearview Live® Video Banking or schedule an appointment. Again, we’re here to help you!
Take care and remain diligent on your financial journey!