Thanks to its use as a major plot device in the latest season of “Stranger Things”--one of Netflix’s most watched series--Kate Bush’s 1985 song “Running Up That Hill” stormed to the top of the Apple Music chart in the U.S. and reached the Top 10 in 34 countries.
The original meaning of the timeless hit is about two people who are in love but who are struggling to understand each other better in their relationship. In today’s volatile economic climate, many of us are facing the same uphill battle to have a healthier relationship with our finances.
With more and more people feeling anxious about their financial resilience, especially those nearing retirement, we’ve outlined some simple steps to help you manage your money worries.
Step 1: Get your credit card debt out of the Upside Down.
Everyone is running faster to keep pace with rising inflation. In the past year, we’ve seen prices go up on everything from gas to groceries. Savings built up during the pandemic have helped with rising costs, but with few signs that inflation will ease any time soon, consumers are increasingly turning to credit cards for purchases.
While credit cards can be useful and convenient, every cardholder should be wary of falling into a deeper cycle of unwanted debt, especially as higher interest rates loom. If you’re feeling like it’s becoming difficult to keep up with payments or pay down your debts, you’re probably finding your limit.
A balance transfer card can help to jump-start a debt payoff plan. Building a monthly budget --and sticking to it--can also help you get a handle on debt.
Step 2: Set up a budget from another dimension.
Even a simple monthly budget can help you to take control of your finances, manage your debt and start to save for your goals. To get started, all you have to do is calculate how much money you have coming in.
Take a look at your monthly salary and subtract social security, taxes, 401(k) and any other fixed deductions. Next, divide your income into regular expenses (Items like your mortgage, rent, or car payments) which stay the same, and variable expenses (such as shopping, holidays and travel), which can change.
Once you’ve worked out where every single dollar is going, you can start to account in advance for every dollar spent before the month begins, and make adjustments if your actual spending differs from your original estimates. Once you’ve tracked your expenses for a few months, you’ll get a better understanding of your spending habits and where you can make some savings on a regular basis.
Step 3: Unlock your psychic powers and start saving automatically.
One of the best ways to get into the habit of saving money is to make it automatic. Once you’ve set up a monthly budget to cut costs, control your debt and calculate out how much you can afford to save, why not set up automated contributions to your savings?
It’s easier to do when you don’t need to even think about transferring the money. Start now and start small if you have to. You can start saving with automatic transfers as small as $25 per month, before working your way up to larger deposits.
Building your savings takes time and dedication, but regularly putting money into savings, even small amounts, is the best way to see your money grow. It’s also helpful to take some time to think about what you want to achieve. What are your financial goals?
Step 4: Create new goals for saving money.
Creating financial goals is a great way to change the way you manage your money. Everyone’s financial goals will be unique and individual, but they do share a few key elements. Your goals will need a start date, an end date, and an estimated final amount.
However, keep in mind that you don’t need to achieve all your goals at the same time. Setting too many goals that are beyond your reach will only make you feel bad. Set yourself up for success with realistic goals that you know you can keep.
Step 5: Expect the unexpected
It’s also important to remember that things can change. There will always be financial surprises that pop up. Your car might break down, or you might get an unexpected bill. Don’t get disheartened by events that are beyond your control, or let them derail the good habits you’ve built up.
The popularity of “Stranger Things” has undoubtedly breathed new life into “Running Up That Hill”, but the song’s success is also due to Kate Bush’s timeless message about what it really takes to make a good relationship last.
Like all long-term relationships, your relationship with your finances won’t always be easy. It takes work, but the rewards are more than worth it. If you still feel like your finances are stuck, New York Life is here to help you achieve your goals. Reach out to a financial professional to get more guidance on managing your finance matters.
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