10 Ways to Boost Your Financial Wellness This Financial Literacy Month

Held annually in the United States and marking its 21st anniversary in 2024, Financial Literacy Month is observed each April to highlight the importance of having strong personal-finance knowledge and practicing wise money-management habits.

And of course, here at The Southern Bank, we try to educate our customers on these important topics whenever we can — as evidenced by the regular financial tips and articles we share on The Southern Bank’s blog. So, in the spirit of Financial Literacy Month, we thought we’d share a roundup of some of our top tips for establishing and maintaining your financial well-being, along with links to more information on each.

Want to take steps to elevate your financial knowledge and well-being this Financial Literacy Month? Consider these 10 leading tips that can help you improve your and your family’s financial fortunes and know-how:

  1. Set specific, achievable financial goals — and create a strategy for achieving them. It may seem obvious, but by taking the time to set your financial goals and making concrete plans to achieve them, you’re much more likely to find success. According to research, nearly 90% of Americans have set at least one financial goal for this year, with paying off personal debt (22%), increasing income (16%), building an emergency fund (15%) and improving budgeting skills (13%) among the most common ones.
    For more information on setting financial goals, check out our blog article titled “How to Set Your Financial Goals — and Set Yourself Up for Success in Achieving Them.”
  2. Build a household budget — and stick to it. By creating and sticking to a household budget, you can see more success in freeing up funds for achieving your financial goals. Research shows that less than half of Americans create a household budget — and that those who do build a budget are more aware of their spending habits and less likely to have trouble paying their bills due to overspending.
    For more information on how to build a budget, check out our blog article titled “10 Tips for Successfully Sticking to a Budget.”
  3. Maintain good financial habits. According to surveys, nearly three-quarters of Americans rank finances as their No. 1 stressor in life. And of course, by establishing and maintaining good financial habits, you can improve your financial wellbeing and lower your money-related stress.
    For more information on maintaining good financial habits, check out our blog article titled “This Financial Wellness Month, Consider Turning These 7 Financial Best Practices Into Habits.”
  4. Keep your credit card debts in control. Figures from credit-reporting agency TransUnion show that the average American was carrying nearly $6,300 in credit card debt in January 2024 — up from just over $5,800 in January 2023. And with the average U.S. credit card carrying a nearly 28% APR interest rate in late March 2024, according to the Federal Reserve, credit card balances can quickly grow larger when not paid down.
    For more information on strategies for paying down credit card debt, check out our blog article titled “This Credit Card Reduction Day, Learn More About 2 Top Debt-Payoff Strategies.”
  5. Learn more about your credit score. Whether we are aware of where they stand or not, our credit scores are constantly being calculated and tracked by the three major nationwide credit-reporting agencies — and lenders leverage them to calculate the loan-repayment risk that potential borrowers present. Of course, the better a borrower’s credit score, the more favorable the terms he or she can get when taking out a loan.
    For more information on credit scores, check out our blog article titled “A Primer on Credit Scores, What They Mean and How They’re Calculated.”
  6. Keep a close eye on your credit. Having good credit can bring a long list of benefits, with highlights among them including easier loan approval, lower interest rates, better insurance rates and waived security deposits. And by taking a handful of financial wellness-focused steps, each of us can establish and maintain good credit over time.
    For more information on achieving good credit, check out our blog article titled “Build & Maintain Good Credit With These 6 Financial Tips.”
  7. Practice safe online money-management habits. Banks implement an array of technology features and protective practices to ensure the security of their banking websites and apps. But by taking some added precautions and implementing a few best practices, we can all elevate the safety of our online and mobile banking even more.
    For more information on online and mobile banking safety, check out our blog article titled “8 Ways to Make Your Online and Mobile Banking Even Safer.”
  8. Give your children a head start on financial smarts. It’s never too early to start educating children about financial responsibility — but survey data shows that fewer than one in four kids regularly talk with their parents about money.
    For more information on educating kids about money matters, check out our blog article titled “Early Economics: 10 Ways to Teach Your Kids Good Financial Habits.” 
  9. Get yourself ready for retirement. Statistics show that more than 55% of American workers feel that the amount of money they have saved for retirement is insufficient — with more than 35% saying they feel “significantly behind.” And of course, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the better.
    For more info on saving for retirement, check out our blog articles titled “It’s National Retirement Security Week: Are You Ready?” and “7 Ways to Build Your Retirement Savings — No Matter Your Age.”
  10. Ask for help when needed. When it comes to complicated money matters, getting the help of a financial expert can help you elevate your knowledge and set yourself on a path to success. This is the case whether you’re looking for help with a question such as “What is investing?” or want to know more about how investing works — or if you’d like to start saving for a home, building an emergency fund, saving for college or taking other steps to improve your financial well-being. And here at The Southern Bank, we’re always eager to help. Whether you have questions about our personal banking products, business banking services, or just want to get in touch and learn where you can get answers to your finance-related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit one of our local branches.

At The Southern Bank, we pride ourselves on offering friendly, personalized service to all of our customers — and that includes providing guidance when you have questions about any of our banking services. To learn more about our Personal Banking services ranging from Personal Checking and Personal Loans to Savings & Money Market, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Mortgages and more, check out the Personal Banking page on our website or visit one of our local branches for friendly, in-person service with a smile.

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