Set Yourself Up For Financial Success In 2020

BY: Brent Landrum

With the year winding down and holiday shopping well underway, have you thought about taking stock of your finances from the last 12 months? While this might feel like just one more thing you need to get done, view it as a necessary step in getting organized before the New Year begins. Categorize your finances into three categories – Needs, Balances, and Resources – and think about the year ahead.

Did your account(s) meet your Needs?

Were your interest earnings what you expected?
Did you accumulate the amount of reward points you wanted?
If either of these features were a part of why you selected an account, but you weren’t quite satisfied at the end of the year, review the policies of each to learn how to maximize earnings. Additionally, your banker is a great resource that can help make an account work for you.

  • Do you have the account types you need?
    • Checking
    • Savings
    • Money Markets
    • Investment accounts
Checking accounts are ideal for everyday use when it comes to high transaction numbers. Their regulations are different than savings products, and they allow you to access your money anytime, anywhere, with fewer limitations. If you didn’t use a checking account as your primary, consider making this change in the New Year.

Savings accounts are meant to help you do exactly that: save! While this account type does keep funds liquid, there are additional stipulations that are meant to help you prepare for a rainy day or for long-term benefits. Do you have a savings account that you contribute to regularly? Regardless, speak to your banker about either opening an account or how you can easily increase your contributions through automatic transfers and more.

Are you looking for more of an investment-style savings account? Consider either a money market, Roth or traditional IRA, or even a certificate of deposit. Each offers various interest rates that can help you prepare for future benefits.

Did you maintain your desired account Balances?

  • How did you do with your budget?
It’s always important to have a monthly and yearly budget, so that you are spending within your means. How did you do this year? Look at grocery, gasoline, and entertainment spending to see where you may have paid more than you planned. As you prepare for 2020, write down budgets for each category on a notecard and store it in a place where you will be reminded on a routine basis.

  • Did you run into any problems with overdrawing your account?
Minor errors can lead to overdrawing your account and ultimately cost you more money. Look back at the past year and see if your account went negative and what fees you incurred. Why did the account have a negative balance? If bills, loan payments, or similar charges were the root of the issue, perhaps look at due dates and see where you can alter payments to align with paydays. You may even want to consider setting up automatic payments that will come out of your account at the same time every month.

  • Did you have excess funds in an account?
Were you lucky enough to have more than you needed? Talk to a banker about moving these funds into an account that can benefit you by earning more interest. Whether it is a savings product or financial advisory, your bank can help connect you with the right account and/or individual.

Did you utilize all the tools and Resources your bank offers?

  • Electronic Banking
This electronic tool allows you to access your accounts anytime, anywhere! You can check your balance, transfer funds, and more, all without ever having to step foot inside a branch location. Mobile and online banking can assist you with staying on budget as well.

  • Mobile Banking
Did you know that you can deposit checks into your account using this great tool? With the bank’s mobile app and your smartphone or tablet, a couple of quick steps and photos of the check are all that’s necessary to get your money into your account.

  • Customer Support
It’s not just a call center! Our Customer Support staff have an immense amount of knowledge and can answer your questions with a quick phone call or online chat. Call or email them today to be connected with a real person ready to answer any questions you might have.

  • Your Banker
In today’s digital world, it is always smart to have a local resource you can go to when problems or questions arise. Our retail team is here to help you!

As the year winds down be sure to take time and review how you did. Pinpoint strengths and weaknesses to set yourself up for success to make 2020 your best year yet!

Brent Landrum

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