Yes, New Year’s resolutions are a month off, but it’s never too early to get your finances healthy! Your finances, and the decisions you make about them, change over time. They are different from your friends’ or your parents’ finances. Still, some broad guidelines can help you get a handle on your financial plans.
* On average, mortgage lenders expect your payments to be no more than 28% of your monthly gross income (before taxes, Social Security, and other deductions). Another method says that your PITI (principal, interest, property taxes and insurance) plus your total long-term debt (car payments, college loans, installment payments) should not exceed 36% of your gross income.
* How much should you be saving? Financial experts suggest three to six months’ take-home pay in a savings account. That can take time to build up, and you may need to raid your account even while you’re adding to it. Still, if you consistently put aside 5% of your take-home pay, using payroll deduction, you’ll reach your goal.
* For long-term retirement savings, at minimum put a percentage into your 401(k) that equals what your employer will match. Anything less and you’re actually giving up free money. Ideally, contribute the maximum your employer allows into your 401(k). Can’t swing that much while you’re saving for your child’s future education expenses? Keep this in mind: You can borrow to meet higher education expenses, but you can’t borrow for retirement expenses.
Looking for more ways to keep your finances healthy? Liberty Savings offers free seminars, education and online links to help all of our members. Or contact us at any time to learn about all the services available to help you meet your goals.