Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Evaluate Your Financial Situation: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself

January has officially been designated National Financial Wellness Month. As the first month of a new calendar year, it is the perfect time to take an honest look at your financial situation to determine if you will be on track for your financial goals in the coming year. As January draws to a close, First Bank of the Lake is here to help you evaluate your financial situation to identify what aspects may still have room for improvement. By asking yourself these four questions, you'll be able conduct a comprehensive assessment that you can use to plan for the future.

Question #1: Do I Know How Much I'm Spending Each Month?
Before you can make a realistic plan to improve your financial situation, you must know exactly what that situation looks like. With multiple household bills and the potential for dozens of online or virtual subscriptions (many of which can be set up to be paid automatically), it can be hard to keep track of where your money is going. When assessing your finances, the first step is to identify exactly how much you are spending each month and where that money is going.

Question #2: What Is The Last Financial Mistake I Made?
It can be hard to own up to ourselves about the mistakes we make, but it's important that you are able to be honest with yourself about your financial habits. For our purposes, let's define a financial "mistake" as something that goes against your long-term financial goals. Once you determine what your last mistake was, take it one step further by examining what prompted you to make that mistake. By identifying the underlying cause, you will be better equipped to avoid making the same mistake again.

Question #3: Do I Have An Emergency Fund?
The only predictable fact in life is that life is unpredictable. Things happen - jobs are lost, natural disasters strike, and family members become injured or ill. It's wise to have an emergency fund to fall back on in unexpected emergencies such as these. Financial experts recommend you have enough money saved to support yourself for at least 3-6 months without any additional income. At a minimum, we encourage you to set aside at least $1,000 in your emergency fund.

Question #4: What Big Expenses Are On The Horizon?
It goes without saying that in order to plan for the future, you must look forward. Think about the large expenses you may have on your horizon in 2017, such as insurance premiums and property taxes. Do you have enough money in your bank account to cover these costs? Next, take your assessment a step further by thinking a little farther down the road. Do you plan to buy a car in the next couple of years, or perhaps buy your first home? While you're at it, why not look even further into the future - hold old do you want to be when you retire, and how much money do you need to have saved by then to support yourself? By identifying your financial goals, you can devise a strategy that will help you achieve them.

2017: Your Year To Get On Top Of Your Finances!
As the first month of the new year, January provides the perfect opportunity to conduct an honest assessment of your financial situation. Since January is almost over, take the time now to look back over the month and evaluate how you handled your finances. Did your behavior align with your long-term financial goals? If not, what steps can you take to improve your situation in February?

Our community bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help you achieve your financial goals. Ask us about our interest bearing savings accounts to help you save money and simultaneously grow your investments. Visit our website for more information about our services, or you can always call us at (573) 348-2265. We look forward to serving you!

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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065

(573) 348-2265

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