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What Does Financial Freedom Mean to You?

What Does Financial Freedom Mean to You?

The road to financial freedom can sometimes be intimidating when you don’t know where to start, but you don’t have to travel it alone. You can start to make little changes and see a big difference in no time — no winning lottery ticket necessary. Whether your dream is buying your first home, sending your kids to college, starting a business of your own or enjoying your golden years watching sunsets, WellCents has the tools and resources you need to help you turn your dreams into reality. We want to help employees just like you reach a successful and financially secure retirement by helping to improve their financial health.

And the best part? The resources available to you through WellCents are completely free. 

From brand-new hires to longtime employees, WellCents can help you budget your household expenses, pay down debt, make more informed investment decisions and plan for retirement with exclusive online and in-person resources, including: 

·         Educational workshops

·         Online resource center

·         One-on-one meetings

·         Financial goal-setting

·         Customized action plans

It’s Easy to Get Started

The first step is completing a quick and easy financial assessment. You’ll answer a few short questions about your financial history to establish a starting point on your financial wellness journey. Once complete, you’ll receive a Financial Wellness Score along with a customized action plan that identifies and targets your personal needs and objectives. With this information, you’ll better understand your financial strengths and areas for improvement so you can actively begin working toward your goals. Individual answers are kept confidential — only trends among employees as a group are given to your employer to help develop educational materials.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Independent minds

We’ll direct you to educational articles that address your financial priorities. You’ll always have the ability to contact one of our professionals if you have questions along the way. Remember, you’re not going down this road alone.

Social butterflies 

Attend group educational workshops with colleagues led by a financial professional in person. The topics chosen are based on aggregated areas expressed by employees of your company or organization. Get the professional guidance you need while discovering how others like you have worked to achieve their goals.

Dynamic Duos 

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with a financial professional mentor via in-person, webinar or conference call at no cost to you. They’ll work with you to create a customized action plan and help guide you as you work to improve your financial health.

Copilot for the Journey

All of these great resources are available at no cost to you. If your roadmap takes you on a new course due to major life changes, evolving financial conditions or anything else that comes your way, you’ll have the information you need at your fingertips to make more informed financial choices. 

We all have dreams, and we all have to do a lot of the same things to achieve them. But with WellCents on your side, you’ll have the resources and support you need to deal with any bumps you encounter on the road to your financial freedom.

Tips for Minimizing Student Debt

Tips for Minimizing Student Debt

From guidance counselors and parents to your soccer coach and nosy neighbors, everyone seems to be interested in where you’re planning on going to college. And with good reason — there’s a lot to consider when making this important decision, beyond just picking the right university or vocational school and figuring out your major. Education costs money … a lot of it. But with some practical planning, there are ways to rein in college costs even if your college fund hasn’t caught up with your dreams quite yet.

Figure out What You’ve Got to Work With

Have the “money talk” with your parents. Find out if they — or your grandparents — have funds put aside for you like a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan. If they do, know that the impact on your financial aid is different based on whether your parents or your grandparents started the account. And don’t forget to ask for money toward your college fund for birthday presents and holiday gifts to bolster your savings.

Stretch Your Budget

Rather than going straight to a four-year school, consider spending your first year or two at a community college. Community college can cost much less — plus, you could potentially save on living expenses by commuting. You can then transfer to the school of your dreams in a year or two to dig into your major.

Plan Your Way Out of a Jam

Talk to your college advisor about the feasibility of graduating early. Look into concurrent enrollment programs that allow you to take reduced-cost college classes while in high school. AP testing and CLEP tests can also help you receive credit at a reduced rate and speed up your graduation date. Graduating even one semester early can save you thousands of dollars in tuition, housing and other expenses.

Scholarships Are Free Money

In addition to academic and sports scholarships, there are also community-based, gender and subject area scholarships. Once you’re in college, you can work with your major department or honor society to take advantage of these programs. Look into smaller scholarships as well. Sometimes they’re easier to get, and a lot of small scholarships can add up to more money. And don’t forget about grants if you have financial need. Many states and colleges offer their own need-based grant, research and scholarship programs that you can apply for.

Work-study and Summer Jobs

Instead of taking out more student loans, look for opportunities to participate in federal work-study. These are programs that provide you work during the semester and can help you reduce the need for debt. A summer job can build up your resume and help toward paying your college expenses for the coming year.

Get Ahead of Debt

Make sure you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year to take advantage of grants, work-study and some scholarships. Speak with a financial professional to help you take steps now to sidestep serious debt and make your transition into life on your own as smooth as possible.

 

Ease Into Retirement With a Smart Pre-game Strategy

Ease Into Retirement With a Smart Pre-game Strategy

Retirement is a major milestone — a moment to turn a new page to a chapter you’ve probably dreamed about for decades. People look forward to unencumbered schedules, freedom to travel, spending more time with relatives or moving to a dream home on the beach. Retirees often have big expectations about what a life of leisure may bring only to find out that they miss the routine and camaraderie of going to work each day. Or that moving to their favorite vacation destination means leaving all their friends behind.

It’s not uncommon for retirees to experience a surge of well-being and happiness directly after retirement, followed by a decline in life satisfaction as time passes. But you can avoid some of the stress and anxiety that retirement can bring with a smart pre-retirement strategy to help smooth out the transition.

Dip Your Toe in Retirement Waters

The day after you retire might seem like plunging into the deep end of the pool – your daily work-life routine suddenly stops cold. So, instead of jumping in, consider wading into retirement with a transitional job. Maybe your current employer will let you step down to part-time work for several months — or you can explore a new opportunity with a bridge job that keeps you in the workforce (and keeps your retirement account growing) while lightening your schedule. Your WellCents financial professional can help you figure out how much income you’ll need in order to make a gradual transition into retirement.

Retire to Something Else

Prior to your last day at work, make plans and lay the groundwork for what you’ll retire to — not just the job you’ll retire from. Join a community or volunteer organization now. Get to know them and what the possibilities are so that when you retire you’ve already found a group you like, and are ready to fully engage in — or ramp up — your participation. 

Relocate With Confidence

Moving closer to children and grandchildren or relocating to a favorite vacation destination can sound like the perfect retirement plan. But it can also lead to disappointment — family may be busy with other activities or your vacation spot might be lonely without a group of friends. Invest in your new community before you make the big move. Plan longer trips to the area so that you can take part in local activities, meet people, start new friendships and have something to do outside of your family circle.

Invest in Prep

Just like the time and financial investment you make toward retirement readiness, investing effort and energy into retirement prep can yield big rewards. Talk to your spouse, family and friends about the dream you have in mind for your golden years and discuss how it aligns with theirs. Make a plan and start investing in your dream well before your last day of work. Contact your WellCents financial professional to check your financial readiness and figure out the best time to kick off your retirement pre-game.

Source: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/01/retiring-minds

 


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