Just like visiting a doctor, it’s important to review and evaluate your finances so you can ensure the healthiest relationship with your money. A financial check-up will give you more confidence in your finances and allow you to have more control over where your money is going.

If you’ve found yourself feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to tackle your financial check-up, use these tips to help you get started.

  1. Identify any recent major changes in your lifestyle that could affect your finances. Have you switched jobs, received a pay raise, gotten married or divorced, had kids, bought a house or new car, etc.? It’s all relative when reviewing your finances.
  2. Gather your bank statements and credit card statements from the last 6-12 months and find where you are spending most of your money. See if you can identify spending patterns that could be adjusted or eliminated.
  3. Check your credit score. You can obtain a free copy from one of the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to check for and report any errors. This can also help you discover if you need to take necessary steps to improve your credit score.
  4. Evaluate all your current financial accounts (personal, business, checking, savings, retirement, CDs, loans, etc.). Ensure that all the information on your accounts is correct and up to date. Having a clear understanding of your accounts in relation to your financial goals can help you plan accordingly for the year.
  5. Review your debt(s) and interest rates (mortgage, car loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.). Write these down and plug them into your budget. Create a plan that will help you pay off your debt(s) as soon as possible.
  6. Identify tools and resources you can utilize to help streamline your banking. Check out some of the services our customers benefit from such as Online and Mobile Banking, Bill Pay, Notifi Alerts, Credit Score, and more.

Our UFB staff is here if you need assistance with your financial check-up. Schedule an appointment with one of our local bankers to perform an account review and identify more ways for you to save.

After you’ve completed your financial check-up, you’ll have the information needed to reassess and set new financial goals and create a solid budget to help keep your financial goals on track.

Do you have a high school senior preparing to go to college? Are you overwhelmed by the opportunities, paperwork, and planning of it all?

In recognition of November being National Education Month, we put together five tips to help you and your child better prepare for their higher education and financial future.

  1. Do research: Set up college visits, talk to current students, and encourage your child to submit an early application. Help them stay organized by making a list of all the required paperwork needed for applications, such as letter(s) of recommendation, a copy of their transcript, etc.
  2. Be proactive: Write down important dates such as SAT or ACT test dates and scholarship application deadlines and place them where they will be seen daily. Help your child take charge of their future by ensuring necessary tasks are completed as soon as possible.
  3. Find scholarships: As much as $100 million in scholarship funds go unclaimed every year, according to the National Scholarship Providers Association. Start gathering options by asking questions and researching scholarships that apply for your child. If you don’t know where to begin, reach out to their teacher, guidance counselor, or mentor for help.
  4. Create a budget and open a savings account: It’s never too late to learn financial literacy basics. Work with your child to create a budget and help them open a savings account dedicated to funding their college tuition and other school related expenses.
  5. Talk about the impacts of posting on social networks: Did you know college admission offices can decline or resend an offer based on what you post on social media? Discuss the positive and negative impacts of an online presence with your child. Encourage them to tidy up their social media profiles before sending in their applications.

Congratulations on taking the first few steps in helping your child prepare for college! While you navigate this exciting and emotional process, remember to stay positive and open minded. College is about personal growth and discovery, and this milestone will help your child shape a bright and successful future.