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How to stay financially fit in 2022 | Money Smart

Mike Wilson from Members 1st Federal Credit Union says setting realistic, specific, and measurable goals is crucial to financial health.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — While losing weight or getting in shape is a popular New Year's resolution, so is becoming financially fit. 

Mike Wilson, the chief experience officer at Members 1st Federal Credit Union, says anyone can set realistic and measurable money goals for 2022. 

“There are very easy ways that you can accomplish this," Wilson said. "Measure it. Track it.”

Wilson advises clients to assess their salaries, monthly spending habits, and any potential debts before marking out exactly what they want to financially achieve this year. He also says it's important for people to establish a clear and well-defined goal: “Is it, I want to buy a car? Or I want to save $5,000 for a down-payment on a car. Those are two very different things.” 

Whether your goal is to buy a car, save money, or pay down debt, the third step is the same: set a date. For example, if you want to save $5,000 for a down-payment on a car and want to do it within the next 12 months, work backwards and deposit a specific, regular amount of money into an account that you keep building until the $5,000 goal is reached. 

The last piece of the puzzle is sticking to a budget. 

“It’s tough," Wilson said. "It’s one of those topics people like to shy away from. You may feel it’s restrictive or time consuming. At the end of the day, budgeting is just a plan for your money. You’re telling it where you want it to go and what you want it to do so it can help you get to where you want to be."

Wilson says designing a budget is a personal process, but simply having one and reviewing it regularly is crucial to financial health. 

“It is not unlike a diet if you’re trying to lose weight, which is another common thing to think about at this time of the year," Wilson said. "You have to be disciplined...and commit to achieving those goals."

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