Why a Mid-Year Financial Checkup is Especially Important During COVID-19 By: Tracy Van Brunt Summer isn’t just for laidback fun in the sun – especially given today’s global health and financial crises. With the first half of 2020 behind us, now is an ideal time to take the pulse of savings and spending with a mid-year financial checkup. Are you on track to meet your goals? Have your finances taken a hit due to job loss or market fluctuations? Here are a few helpful ways to stay on top of your finances this summer – and for the rest of the year. 1. Reevaluate your monthly budget.If you have not formally reviewed your monthly spending and created a budget yet this year, now is the time. Or, if you established a budget pre-pandemic, it’s likely your financial situation has changed in some way. Is your money going where you want it to, and need it to? Pull your credit card and account statements from the last three or four months. You might find some recurring expenses that surprise you, or categories where you’re spending less (or more) than you originally planned. For example, has going out less decreased your spending on gas, entertainment and dining out? If you find that you have “extra” money, use it to start or build up an emergency savings account. Affinity offers a SmartStart Savings account that has no minimum balance requirement, no monthly service fees and offers competitive dividend rates to help you grow your cash balances. Take a fresh look at all your finances and reset your spending/savings goals and budget for today’s reality. 2. Assess your account fees and recurring charges.As you’re reviewing your banking and credit card statements to reevaluate your budget, make sure to also double check for recurring charges or hidden fees. Affinity does not require minimum opening deposits or minimum balances on our SmartStart Savings and MoreSavings accounts, and no minimum deposit on our Affinity Cash Back Debit checking account. However, other financial institutions may have these fees. Not having to worry about minimum balance requirements or hidden fees will provide peace of mind, as well as more freedom to access your money when you need it. With your credit cards, you may discover that you’re paying more interest and annual fees than you realized. Affinity offers several credit cards that have no annual fees, and all our cards can easily be paired with our card monitoring app to help monitor your purchases. 3. Make your money work for you.With your savings and spending in check, take the time to review your account balances and dividend rates. In times of economic uncertainty, there may be a temptation to withdrawal cash from your accounts. However, keeping large amounts of cash at home is not only risky in terms of safety, but it also prevents you from earning dividends. Consider moving your money to accounts with higher dividend rates so you can grow your money. Affinity offers savings accounts designed to meet your needs, whether you are just starting to save, looking to earn more on higher balances, or if you’re interested in earning a fixed dividend rate on a certificate. 4. Seek professional advice. Everyone needs some help sometimes, financial and otherwise. Consider talking to an expert who can help you review – and possibly reset – your immediate and future financial goals and how to achieve them, particularly in today’s environment. These could include: • Reevaluating your timeline to retirement and adjusting your 401K contributions • Managing how much you are contributing to your emergency fund • Transferring funds you have been saving for travel to an emergency fund account • Making sure you have started estate planning, or updating existing documents At Affinity, you can schedule an appointment for a phone or in-person consultation with one of our relationship specialists for a financial checkup to improve your overall financial wellbeing. COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of our wellbeing, making it especially important to stay in-tune with your situation and your needs. By taking proactive steps to safeguard your finances, you’ll be better positioned for financial success, now and when our worlds return to “normal.” For additional information and updates from Affinity about COVID-19, please visit https://www.affinityfcu.com/banking/we're-here-for-you.aspx This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition are made.