Poor family financial management causes untold stress, and is cited as a leading cause of divorce. The sad thing is that getting family finances to a HAPPY place isn’t that hard, but so many families don’t know where to start.
HAPPY is an acronym representing a five-step approach to help families take control of their finances:
- Have a plan: Sit down on a weekly basis with your spouse or significant other to discuss your finances. It only takes one person going off course to damage a family’s budget. Take 10 minutes each week to connect and review a written budget that outlines spending for the upcoming week to ensure you literally stay on the same page and continue to share goals toward a brighter financial future.
- Assess where your money is going: Collect all receipts for a month and sit down with your credit union statement to assess where your after-tax income is going. You’ll likely find budget leaks and can then make necessary changes to plug them up.
- Pay yourself first: Living within your means is a fundamental tenet to a successful financial life. By automatically putting money in your 401K or retirement plans, you’re setting the stage for a sound financial future. You won’t see this money on your monthly assessments, but it’s an important step for finding financial HAPPY-ness.
- Personalize your accounts: At CommunityAmerica Credit Union and many other credit unions, we can rename accounts from numeric to names like “Hawaii” or “Stella’s college fund.” When you personalize accounts this way, it creates an emotional connection and turns it from an unreachable dream to a tangible goal worth working toward.
- You’re not alone: Credit unions are known for exceptional service and at CommunityAmerica, me and my wonderful colleagues are committed to working with our members to Build Financial Success Together and help them achieve their personal financial dreams.
You’ll see HAPPY in my next Financial MOMentum blog post as well, and I hope to bring it to life even more in my Aug. 12 CUES video!