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Archive for the ‘Wallet Wellness’ Category

Jul

31.14

how-fat-is-your-wallet

Wallet Wellness is coming to an end and we’re curious… how fat did your wallet get this summer? Did you implement any new ideas into your household? Learn to spend less and save more? We hope so!

Small Is the New BIG
Whether you’re already on track or just getting into the swing of things, Start Small by Thinking Big is a simple first-step to getting on track. Remember, small changes can lead to BIG results and even greater success. It’s never to late to start or start over. And, once you meet that first goal, why not start working on your next one?
Goals Worksheet
Budget Worksheet
Kid’s Goal Worksheet

Don’t Take the Joy Out of It!
Being financially responsible can sound like a drag, but it’s really not! In fact, it opens the door to creativity and spontaneity in a whole new way! Don’t focus on what you can’t do because you’d rather sock that extra money away for an amazing future. Ask yourself what makes you happy and find a way to create that experience for less. Want to plan a nice dinner for loved one? Instead of a fancy restaurant, make his or her favorites and pack a picnic. The thought is much more impressive than the cost!

Check out 20 FUN Things to Do for Under $20 and Kids, Money and Fun for more cool ways to have crazy amounts of fun and still meet your financial goals, too!

Cover All the Bases
Caring for your finances and securing your family’s future can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Start small, and focus on one thing at a time. In Four Keys to Your Financial Future, we cover the big four:
1. Have an Emergency Fund
2. Take Control of Your Debt
3. Protect What You Love
4. Save for the Future

These are the biggies. Take care of these four, and watch your wallet fatten up! And, if your main concern right now is how to control your debt, check out In the Dark About Debt for some helpful tips!

Don’t Forget to Pay It Forward!
Don’t hoard this new knowledge! Help your friends and loved ones get on track, too! It starts at home. Are you and your significant other on the same page? Do your kids know the value of money? Check out Raise Kids with Money Sense and 5 Ways to Make Saving a Family Affair, and make sure everyone in your family is focused on your family’s financial goals!

Is your family already on board? Spread the wealth and tell your friends and extended family about what you learned. Money talks tend to be hush-hush, but sharing ideas and supporting each other’s goals can be a real motivator!

Remember, when it comes to padding your wallet, FAT is IN! Keep moving toward your financial goals, and let us know what’s working for you! Good luck!

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Jul

21.14

5-ways-to-make-saving

Saving money can seem like a hard thing to do – especially if you’re just starting out. That’s why it’s important to start saving early. Showing children how to save for the things they want and need could teach them habits that will save them a lot of heartache in the future.

You can learn while you teach by making saving a family matter. Studies have shown that having someone to hold you accountable to your goals will help you stick to them when it gets hard to stay motivated. And what better partners are there than your family?!

Here are five tips for getting your family into the savings game:

  1. Make a family savings goal. Do you want to buy a new game system or take a trip to an amusement park? Whatever your goal is, decide on it together, and determine how much you’ll need to save to make it happen.
  2. Start small. Commit to saving all of your coins in a month – every single penny – and putting them into a family jar. At the end of the month, see how much you’ve saved and mark off how much further you need to go to get to the goal.
  3. Hold a yard sale and add the proceeds to the family fund. The kids can choose which of their items they’re willing to part with, too.
  4. Practice delayed gratification. Skip the movie theater this month and rent a movie instead. The savings could go into the family fund and teach kids that waiting until you’ve earned a reward is worth it!
  5. Remind yourself of the why. The excitement of a goal sometimes wanes as you get further away from the moment of inspiration. Put up reminders around the house so that your family can remember why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Remember that having a goal without a plan is just wishing. Put some action behind that wish! Download this worksheet to help your kids reach their savings goals. Your family could have a great time working together – and your children could learn great savings habits in the process!

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Jul

07.14

in-the-dark

Are thoughts about your debt keeping you up at night… or do you just push them out of your mind? If you try to avoid even thinking about your debt, it may be the first sign that you’re in trouble. Trying to ignore it just makes it worse! Denial may seem easier when you’re in too deep, but you’ll never make progress if you can’t confront the problem.

One study showed that American households underreported the magnitude of their credit card debts by at least one-third.1 The study noted that the discrepancy “could result from willful ignorance, as large credit card balances are not welcome information” or “from difficulty understanding the growth of credit card balances.”2

It’s one thing to know that you owe money, but it’s another to know exactly how much you owe and to whom. Compound interest works in your favor when you are building savings, but it works against you when you’re in debt. The fact that credit card debt is “revolving” – compounding daily instead of monthly – means you can pay much more interest and your debt can go on forever. This is how seemingly small debts can grow into large ones!

That’s one reason it’s so important for you to sit down and identify all your debt. Get your credit reports and scores to ensure you haven’t left anything off.

Of all the threats to your financial security, none is more dangerous than debt. Don’t you think it’s important to know exactly what you’re fighting?

1. NYTimes.com, “How Much Do You Owe? Guess Again,” viewed 17 June, 2014
2. Ibid

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Jun

30.14

financial-future

To get started on the path to wallet wellness, you often need to start small. But you can have fun in the process! As your new outlook becomes second nature, you can finally begin to focus on the four things that matter for your financial future:

1. Have an emergency fund.

This is your reserve fund in the event of an unforeseen emergency, job loss or an unexpected expense. A good rule of thumb: set a goal of having three to six months’ salary in your emergency fund. Every little bit helps! For example, saving $5 a week is the equivalent to giving up a latté.

2. Take control of your debt.

There’s often a connection between emergencies and debt, but that’s not the only reason people get into debt. Chronic consumer debt has become an epidemic on Main Street, and families now struggle more than ever to make ends meet. Debt is one of the biggest threats to your financial wellbeing. Take control by identifying your debt and learning how debt stacking can lead to freedom. They say you can eat an elephant – one bite at a time. The same concept works with paying off your debt!

3. Protect the things you love.

One of the most important expenditures a family makes is also one of the most misunderstood. In the event you can no longer provide for your family, it’s absolutely critical that you make the right decision when it comes to protecting the things you love. It’s hard to talk about the “worst-case scenario,” but being properly protected can have a huge impact on your family’s security and peace of mind. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts if you don’t understand! It’s better to find out now than to later wish you could go back in time and do it all over again.

4. Save for the future.

Finally, you want to think about your long-term savings. Your goal is to save for the future! There’s a high cost to waiting, so it pays to start early. Don’t get so focused on the future that you succumb to the “I can start tomorrow” attitude! According to experts, “The trick to making a savings plan stick is to think about small, specific things that can be repeated over time.”1 Time and consistency are two of the most powerful keys to achieving financial security.

By focusing on these four keys to your financial future, you can get started on the path to freedom and independence. The tiny battles you face day to day will ultimately help you win the “war” for your wallet!

1. TIME.com, “Want to Save Money? Stop Thinking About the Big Picture,” January 9, 2014

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Jun

23.14

kids-money-fun

While everyone wishes a “money tree” did actually exist, those who work hard for the money know differently. How many times did your parents tell you that “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and how often do you find yourself cringing when you voice that same wisdom to your kids?

While spending always seems more exciting than budgeting and saving (at the time), it’s important for us to teach our kids to be responsible with their money so they can avoid making many of the same money mistakes their parents did.

Here are some fun and easy ways to teach your kids about money this summer:

Goal: To emphasize the value of money and teach kids that money isn’t “free?” To make sure they understand that you have to work for the things you purchase.

Kid-tivity: Come up with ways your child can earn money toward something he or she wants to buy or wants to do. Here are some ideas:

  • Extra chores around the house or for a neighbor
  • Babysitting (must be at least 12 years old and very responsible)
  • Pet-sitting or dog walking
  • Yardwork or gardening
  • Washing cars or windows
  • Lemonade or popsicle stand
  • Yard sale … and more!

Goal: To have your children understand what it means to be charitable and he or she can have a sense of accomplishment and pride by giving back to his or her community.

Kid-tivity: There are plenty of big and small ways your child can give back, whether or not money is involved. Here are just a couple:

  • Have him or her buy a toy for a child in need with his or her own money.
  • Find a local volunteer project you and your child can participate in. Explain what the charity is and why you’re helping.
  • Keep a change jar around the house for loose change and let your kids pick the charity they want to give it to when the jar fills up.
  • Show your child the value of time by spending time with an elderly neighbor or shut in. Explain that the giving of time is just as valuable as the giving of money.

Wallet Wellness Challenge
Can you think up of more ways to teach your kids the value of money? Get creative! Make it fun! Then share them with us!

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