Steps to Become More Financially Stable this Fall By Caroline Addesso, Assistant Digital Branch Manager Financial stability is a goal that everyone strives for and it has no boundaries. It can be a complex concept at times but, at the surface, being financially stable looks different for everyone. For some people, it means taking the necessary steps now to reach a long-term financial goal in the future. For others, it’s making educated decisions with their finances that allow them to live within their current means. In order to become more financially stable, you need to assess how you spend your money. There could be certain areas in your life that are causing financial instability. Some early signs of financial instability include: ● Excessive debt ● Making purchases that do not align with current financial goals ● Lack of planning ● Stuck in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck with no emergency savings ● Living above means If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms of financial instability, there are actionable steps you can take to reverse this: ● Crunch the numbers! Get organized. Understand how much income is coming in and what bills need to be paid each month. ● Create a budget. This can look different for every situation. Create a budget that works best for your goals, needs, and personality. ● Seek help! Seek assistance from a credit counselor. ● Consider loan consolidation: Affinity offers debt consolidation loans where you can combine your debt into a single, lower-rate/payment debt consolidation loan. Truly understanding debt and its role in financial stability is important. While debt may cause financial instability, having debt is not necessarily a bad thing. The key to success is considering the amount of debt you have and comparing it to your assets. There are some key differences between good debt and bad debt that you should consider when navigating your finances. Good debt helps increase your wealth, like a mortgage. Bad debt comes from poor financial management, which may result in financial instability in the future. One important thing to remember is that debt is debt, regardless of what it was taken out for. Having a long-term plan is key when striving for financial stability. According to a recent study from Gallup, only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan. There are steps you can take to stabilize your financial future. Having a plan and a budget is crucial. Map out and visualize your goals so you can stick to your plan. You should also keep up with financial education resources and be aware of the current economic climate so you can adjust your plan accordingly. There is no blueprint for financial stability. Steps you can take to bring balance to your finances look different for everyone. If you want to achieve more financial stability, understand your current situation, look out for early signs of financial instability in your life, and create a plan that is geared toward your lifestyle.