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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.

Budgeting During a Pandemic

Budgeting During a Pandemic

Sticking to a budget is hard enough normally — and things are anything but normal right now. Unfortunately, this is one more area of our lives that’s a lot more complicated since the pandemic began. Just as many folks are rethinking how they work and grocery shop, it’s a good idea to look at your household budget and consider whether some adjustments are in order.

 

Budgeting is about planning ahead. But before you do that, review changes in your spending habits since the COVID-19 crisis began. While it may feel like you’re saving money by eating out less or staying home, there may be other areas where you are, in fact, spending more than you did before the pandemic. These might include groceries, utilities and even household repairs, as appliances and other systems in your home deal with increased demand.

 

Once you have a good sense of the increases and decreases in your spending, adjust your budget accordingly. Then, consider the following:

 

1. Bolster your emergency fund. Whether or not you’ve had to tap your emergency fund, consider adding to your safety cushion. With the future still uncertain, see if you can squirrel away an extra $50 a month to put toward repairs or other unexpected expenses. Adding to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) can also help cover any unanticipated medical costs.

 

2. Review discretionary spending. Some budget items are necessary expenses, such as food, housing and utilities, while others are optional. Review your discretionary spending, such as multiple streaming services and nonessential clothing. Consider cutting back on these temporarily to liberate additional money for building your emergency fund or paying down debt.

 

3. Seek out savings on essential spending. Curb grocery bills by using paper or online coupons. Buy in bulk and look for lower-cost meal options that include pasta, beans and in-season vegetables. Cut back or eliminate alcohol purchases. Getting creative with leftovers can also help. Look for new budget-friendly recipes to add to your meal-planning repertoire. Many auto insurance carriers are offering discounted rates as well, so check to see if yours is one of them. You can lower monthly insurance payments by increasing your deductible, but only consider this strategy if you can afford the higher out-of-pocket expense.

 

4. Negotiate with creditors and service providers. If your budget is straining, speak to your lenders to see if they can lower your monthly payment or interest rate. They may even allow a forbearance of payments altogether. If you have a mortgage, investigate whether refinancing that loan makes sense for you. Call credit card companies and ask for a lower interest rate or consider a balance transfer to a card with a more favorable fee structure.

 

5. Review your retirement plan. Try to avoid dipping into your 401(k) as this could potentially set you back years on your retirement timeline — as can lowering or stopping contributions. It’s particularly important to contribute the minimum required to receive any company-match funds if possible.

 

Many American families are feeling the crunch right now. You’re not alone. Seek out guidance from those who can help. Setting an appointment with your financial advisor is a great place to start during this challenging time. If you’re under a great deal of financial stress, talk to supportive friends and family. And, if necessary, obtain professional help from your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a qualified counselor through your health insurance plan.

 


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