En español | There’s a way to gain control of your finances, and it’s not as hard as you think. Find your starting position on these challenging routes and push through to the next level until you’re victorious!
Get real: If your first reaction is, “What budget?” you’re in trouble. If your budget is non-existent, it’s probably reflected in your rising credit card balance. Review the stages of building a budget to learn more.
Get moving: Start by spending less than you make — even if, week to week, you feel like you’re behind the eight ball. You’ll get used to it sooner than you think.
Take the lead: Track your spending. Consider using a budgeting app to help, or the personal budget spreadsheet at BankofAmerica.com.
Cross the finish line: Employ a simple system for the long term, such as the “50/30/20 rule”: Spend 50% on essentials, 30% on discretionary items, and 20% on priorities (e.g., retirement, savings, debt paydown, etc.).
Get real: Emergencies — isn’t that what credit cards are for? Of course, the answer is a resounding NO! You may take care of an immediate crisis with plastic, but you could leave yourself saddled with a debt that costs much more over time. Review the stages of building emergency savings to learn more.
Credit card debt
Get real: Carrying a balance on your credit card(s) and just paying the minimum? You may know others doing the same and hope that you’re on the right track. But if you’re employing this strategy, depending on the size of your debt you may not reach a zero balance for a very long time — if ever. Review the stages of alleviating credit card debt to learn more.
Get real: If you haven’t been maximizing your opportunities to save for your golden years — even if you’ve been using your available dollars to save for your kids’ college instead — it’s time for a reality check. Consider the simple fact that your kids may be able to get loans toward their goals — but you won’t. Review the stages of retirement savings to learn more.
Winning the race to financial freedom can certainly be challenging. But, with some focus and diligence in each stage, you will find that victory is well within your grasp.
Learn more and take action
- Want to learn more about budgeting? Watch video >
- Not enrolled in your 401(k) plan? If your plan is through Merrill Lynch, get started today at Benefits OnLine®. Once you set up your User ID and Password, click “Enroll in Your Plan” in the Action Center on the My Accounts page. Go to Benefits OnLine® >