Maintaining financial well-being requires the same planning process as maintaining your physical health – small, planned actions overtime lead to successful results. It takes time to develop new money behaviors, but resources have been developed for you to help the process go by smoothly!
Track Your Spending
People with successful financial habits regularly track their spending. This helps them stay within their budget and keeps them on track to meet their financial goals. This also helps them know where they stand with creditors, exactly what type of insurance coverage they have, and how much they’ve saved for emergencies and long-term goals.
If you don’t already track your spending, it is a great time to get started. A Personal Financial Checkup, which includes worksheets and step-by-step guides, has been developed to walk you through taking control of your spending, credit cards and loans, insurance policies and more.
Everyone tracks their spending differently - the most important part is finding a method that works for you! Keep it simple and write down transactions using a pen and paper, use the online tools provided by your bank or credit card company, or purchase software resources designed specifically for household personal finances.
Establish and Maintain Your Personal Records
It is important to develop a plan for managing important documents, such as financial records, insurance policies and legal documents. Physical documents should be stored in a safe, accessible way; electronic files should be organized and secure; customer service contact information for all your accounts should be kept together.
Review the documents annually and when a major life event occurs.
Seek Unbiased and Accurate Information for Big Financial Decisions
Big financial decisions have significant implications for personal and financial well-being, healthy financial households seem unbiased and accurate information to point them in the right direction.
Talking with a financial professional is a great way to receive information and guidance. Financial planners can help you with a specific financial goal or provide “big picture” view of how present decisions affect your overall financial well-being and long-term goals.
UW Health’s partnership with LifeMatters as our employee assistance and work/life program allows you quick access to resources and referrals regarding financial planning. To take advantage of this service, download the LifeMatters mobile app, go online to mylifematters.com or call 1-800-634-6433.
UW Health employees who are current UW Credit Union members have access to advice, budgeting information and articles through UWCU. In addition, UW Health employees also have access to retirement planners with Fidelity (UWMF employees) and WDC (UWHC employees). Learn more
Set and Work Towards a Financial Goal
Goal setting is essential for success in all aspects of life, including financial well-being. Whether your financial goals are small, large, short-term, or long-term, it is important to write them down and be sure that your goals are SMART!
- Specific: I will pay off my credit card in two months by paying $300 this month and $450 next month.
- Measurable: I will pay an additional $50 with each payment on my student loan bill for the next six months
- Achievable: I will forgo two coffees each week at my favorite coffee shop, and instead transfer $10 a week into my savings account
- Realistic: I will work on paying off my auto loan ahead of schedule by including an additional $50 on my monthly payment
- Time-Bound and Trackable: We will save $2,000 for a vacation by saving $200 a month for the next 10 months.
It’s important to understand the difference between short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals and what SMART financial goals apply for each of the timeframes.
- Short-Term: achievable in fewer than 3 months. Examples of this include conducting a Personal Financial Checkup or conducting a thorough review of all your household’s important papers
- Medium-Term: achievable from 3 months to 3 years. Examples of this include saving $100 a month until your emergency savings balance reaches $3,000.
- Long-Term: goals that require 3 or more years to achieve. Examples of this include paying off your car loan or saving for a down payment on a house.
A worksheet has been created to help you determine what your SMART goals are and the timeframe needed to accomplish them.
Create and Maintain an Emergency Plan
Emergencies and disasters can arise without warning and present a variety of financial challenges. Help relieve some of the stress of the financial impacts by creating and maintaining an emergency plan.
www.ready.gov provides a Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness to help you develop your plan.
Do a Financial Checkup Once a Year
Just like maintaining your physical health and well-being with a yearly doctor’s appointment, it’s important to do a financial checkup at least once a year.
Review the Personal Financial Checkup page and checklist to review and update all the important parts of your financial well-being.
UW Health employees have access to retirement planners with Fidelity (UWMF employees) and WDC (UWHC employees). Learn more
Prepare and Maintain a Plan for the ‘What If’
It’s important to keep a current plan for who will make your medical and financial decisions if you become incapacitated and how your assets will be treated when you pass away. Preparing now is an important step in securing financial peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
An has been developed to walk you through the five basic documents that you need for a complete plan. It’s important to ensure that the information remains up to date with frequent reviews.