The Finance Olympics: 4 Steps To Win Gold
We are 24 days away from the 2016 Summer Olympics!
Right now, athletes all over the world are putting the finishing touches on their routines and mentally preparing for a dip in Rio’s most “interesting” waters. But you can get the same Olympic-level thrill of achievement today. So lace up those running shoes, grab that badminton racket, and practice your synchronized swimming routine, because it’s time to go for the gold in the personal finance Olympics!
1. Choose Your Event
The key to success in athletics and in personal finances is to know your game. Be aware of what you do well and what you don’t. You’re not going to see the U.S. basketball team doing gymnastics, or racehorses giving it their all in Greco-Roman wrestling (though we would pay good money to watch that). It all comes down to choosing a single event (for now) and giving that your best shot.
What do you want to work on this summer? Do you want to save money? Cut your expenses? Reduce your debt?
Start by choosing one financial goal, and then go for the gold in that. Sites and apps like MoneyManagement.org, Mint, and CreditKarma.com can help you assess your financial situation and get started training today with financial planning tools like worksheets, calculators, and more, to attack your specific money goal.
2. Get a Trainer
Let’s face it—we all need help sometimes. Most great athletes wouldn’t be where they are today without the help of a good trainer. Behind every Rocky, there’s a Mickey. Behind every Lance Armstrong there’s… never mind, bad example. There’s no shame in needing help, whether you’re training for the Olympics or trying to get rid of your debt.
If your aren’t sure where to begin, start by seeking out a non-profit credit counseling organization. These agencies offer advice on managing your money, paying off your debts, budgeting, and more. Credit counselors are certified to help people in all sorts of financial situations. Any legitimate credit counseling organization will send you information about the agency and the services they provide without requiring money or information from you in return (read more in Bad Credit Helper: How To Shop for a Credit Counselor). If they request money up front, that’s a red flag.
If you think you need credit counseling assistance, check out this list of reputable agencies provided by the U.S. Trustee Program.
3. Know Your Opponent
If you’re a boxer, then your opponent is the guy swinging at you. If you’re a rugby player, it’s the other team. If you play handball, your opponent is…well we’re not exactly sure. The ball maybe? (We don’t know handball.) But if you’re not reaching your financial goals, your opponent could be your credit score.
Your credit score is a numeric representation of your credit-worthiness. If your score is high (680—720) that’s good! If it’s low (300—629), then your credit score is actually causing you to have higher interest rates on on your credit cards and loans. Scores are important and they do fluctuate with your financial behavior. A high score can be lowered by missed payments, a low score can be improved over time by making regular, on-time payments.
The first step toward improving your credit score is to know what it is. That’s why it’s extremely important to request a free copy of your credit report once a year. Understanding your credit score will enable you to improve it. Having a good credit score will lead to lower rates on loans, and could save you a significant amount of money on larger purchases like a home or car.
You can get a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
4. Find the Winning Strategy
Just like an Olympic athlete, you’re going to need to be prepared to work hard to improve your situation. You may not need to start practicing water polo, but you can apply the same discipline to your finances.
Budgeting is going to be key. Just like an Olympian tracks their progress and times their sprints, you’ll also want to keep detailed notes of your income and spending habits. Creating a budget is as simple as writing down all of your monthly expenses and then seeing how much money you have left after they’re all paid. This leftover amount will be your disposable income, which you can choose to spend, save, or invest. A credit counselor can also help with creating a solid plan for your monthly and long-term budget.
Creating a budget and sticking to it will win you the bronze. Using that same budget to pay off all of your debts will get you the silver medal. And if you create a good financial plan, stick to it, pay off all of your debts, and then start saving money, well friend, you’ve just won the gold medal of personal finance.
In the race to achieve financial success, you’ll want to make use of every tool and resource at your disposal. Choosing a goal, working with financial professionals, checking your credit score and budgeting are all essentials. But what if the solution you need is simply money now?
OppLoans is a modern finance company that provides safe, affordable, and quick personal loans. Our application process is fast and easy, our rates are up to 125% lower than other lenders, and you can get your cash as soon as the next business day. Apply for the installment loan that’s right for you today by clicking “Apply Now” below or calling (800) 990-9130 today.
The information contained herein is provided for free and is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. We are not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law and we do not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit. Articles provided in connection with this blog are general in nature, provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for individualized professional advice. We make no representation that we will improve or attempt to improve your credit record, history, or rating through the use of the resources provided through the OppLoans blog.