Achieving Financial Wellness in the New Year

Forward Financial Offers Tips For Financial Stability

After the holidays, it can be hard to get personal finances back on track. Holly Zopfi, Assistant VP/Mortgage Lender (MLO 604712) at Forward Financial, offers advice for those seeking financial stability in the new year.

“First, I would suggest that they stop using their credit cards. Next, organize your credit cards statements to get a handle on balances, rates, minimum payments etc. Figure out how much you can afford to pay each month and start paying extra to either the card with the highest rate or the one with the lowest balance,” she said.

“As a card gets paid off ,apply those funds to another account until they are all paid off. A home equity loan might be a good option if you are a homeowner with equity to borrow against. Typically, the rate would be less than what you pay on a credit card and often the interest is tax deductible.”

A common financial mistake many make is wanting to purchase a house that they cannot afford, not having a savings account for unexpected bills, and having high balances on credit cards.

“There are many expenses related to owning a home that go beyond the mortgage payment each month,” explained Zopfi. “When looking at what you can afford in terms of a payment you need to consider some additional expense, such as bills each month for electricity, lawn care or snow removal.”

She said that establishing a savings account and depositing money each month can help when an unexpected bill arises. Instead of using a credit card, people who save can use cash for that bill, eliminating the potential for interest.

“People use their credit cards to purchase items when they do not have cash,” said Zopfi. “If you do not have the money to pay for the item, you shouldn’t buy it. Credit cards should be paid off monthly.”

Easy steps towards financial stability include creating a budget and sticking to it. When budgeting, include a savings plan for short and long term goals.

“It is also important to meet with a financial advisor to start talking about your future goals,” said Zopfi. “They can help suggest investment options to help achieve your goals.”

Not only can poor finances cause difficulty getting a home or vehicle loan, it can lead to higher interest rates.

“If your credit cards are maxed out or if you have late payments or collections on your credit report you will likely pay a higher interest rate,” explained Zopfi. “Some underwriters may not approve your loan application even at a higher rate.”

For those who need assistance getting a handle on their finances, Forward Financial offers several helpful services.

budget_ff2“The lenders at Forward Financial Bank will take time to go over your credit report with you and point out areas where you could improve your score. We always have the best interest of our customers in mind,” said Zopfi. “Our intention is to make sure you are comfortable with the terms of your loan and the monthly payments.”

She added that Forward Investment Services offers free financial planning to anyone interested, providing a comprehensive approach to planning that examines all aspects of financial life.

Contact Forward Financial for more information: 715-387-1122.