Getting Financially Fit This Summer
Summer is on the horizon, and with the new season comes warmer weather and longer days. Some people might be committing themselves to new fitness regimes to feel healthy and look great during the summer months. This same attention to your physical health and wellbeing could apply to your finances as well.
By prioritizing your financial fitness, you could spend this summer reaping the benefits of a healthier relationship with your money. But what is financial fitness, you ask? Much as physical fitness is a way to increase and maintain your body’s wellness, financial fitness could help you improve and maintain your financial wellness.
Now is the perfect time to establish new, constructive fiscal practices and recommit to basic money habits that can help you stay financially fit throughout the year. Read on for five ways to “exercise” better financial choices this summer.
Remembering to Stretch—aka Create a Budget
Stretching is fundamental to any traditional fitness routine—it helps warm up your muscles and prevent injury. The same could be said about your budget. A budget is a crucial element to establishing financial fitness for life because it provides a big-picture view of your financial health.
Having a base knowledge of all of the money that you bring home (your income) and all of the money that you spend (for both basic needs and discretionary wants) could help you “warm up” to tackling your most complicated monetary goals. After all, it could be extremely challenging to make a plan to pay off your debt or save for a house downpayment without knowing the full scope of your financial profile.
Much as stretching before and after a workout could be a preventative measure against muscle injury, creating a budget could also help a person prevent certain financial “injuries” such as overspending, over-drafting, hidden costs, or sudden, unexpected expenses.
Spreadsheet templates and apps abound for first-time budgeters—you could also consider downloading SoFi Relay to help you track your cash flow in real time. If you have questions about budgeting, SoFi Relay lets you connect with SoFi financial advisers for help and is available at no-cost to use.
Strengthening Your Arms—aka Start Saving for Your Future Goals
Upper body strength is important in a traditional exercise regime because it could help develop long-term stability and good posture. Similarly, saving for future goals (such as home ownership or retirement) is integral to lasting financial health, as it could help you ensure monetary stability for many years to come.
This summer, maybe identify your bigger financial goals and make a plan to start saving for them. You could set up automatic payments from every paycheck to be deposited directly into a savings account, or embrace more creative ways to save money.
Another way to start putting money away for your future is investing. You could consider opening either an active or an automated investment account with SoFi Invest and take advantage of fee free investing. By being mindful and anticipatory of your future needs, you could take one step towards maintaining financial fitness for life.
Toning Your Glutes—aka Firming up Your Income Stream(s)
The glutes are the powerhouse of your body—they are the largest muscle group in the body and provide support when engaging in everyday tasks such as sitting, lifting things, standing, and walking up and downstairs, among other things.
Similarly, your income could be considered the dynamo of your financial body, as it significantly contributes to how much money you are able to spend in a given week, month, or year.
So, what is financial fitness able to do for your income? This new season could be the perfect time to take a look at your income streams and possibly make adjustments. Many people could find their social calendars suddenly booked up in the summertime with pricey vacations and outdoor activities. Sometimes, simply budgeting does not completely help manage this sudden influx of spending.
You could consider taking a look at your income streams to see where you could add incoming money via a side-hustle. Or, if you’ve found that your current salary is struggling to cover both new summertime expenses and your basic cost of living expenses, you could ask for a raise.
Protecting Your Back—aka Establishing a Financial Foundation with Emergency Savings
Developing a strong back is integral to the health of your spine, the central skeletal support structure of your entire body. In financial fitness terms, an emergency fund operates much like a strong back.
Its existence helps support the overall structure of your life so that when you’re hit with unexpected expenses, you aren’t completely toppled over financially.
An emergency fund could act as a safety net so that you don’t have to dip into savings reserved for your other money goals or go into debt to pay costs associated with unforeseen life circumstances—such as such as a layoff or a sudden illness. This summer, you could consider building your emergency savings fund if you don’t already have one.
Determining how much money should be in your emergency savings is a different process for every person. Typically, it is suggested to set aside three to six months’ worth of expenses for your emergency fund, but this figure could change depending on your individual or family’s needs.
Getting a Six-Pack—aka Organizing Your Financial life
While a solid core is beneficial for every type of movement in your body, many people could also be attracted to the aesthetic aspects of having a well-defined six-pack. What is financial fitness able to teach you about the “core” of your financial life? That it’s important to consider appearances in your finances as well.
You could start small by gathering all of your financial records and statements and organizing them either in a physical storage space or in a digital format that works for you.
Another way to tighten the “core” of your financial life could be to simplify and consolidate your accounts. If you have multiple credit cards, you might choose the one with the best benefits (i.e. travel points, cash back, etc.) and use it for all of your spending.
If you’ve had multiple jobs that offered multiple different 401(k) plans, you could consider rolling them all over into a rollover IRA to have all of that accrued money in one place. If you have multiple checking and savings accounts at different banks, consider consolidating so that all of your cash is housed in one bank.
Or you could consider signing up for a SoFi Money® cash management account. SoFi Money could be a great way for you to consolidate your funds.
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