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Top Money Priorities

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

March 21, 2022

Come now, you who say, We will go into such and such a town and trade and make a profit’ yet you do not' know what tomorrow will bring. That passage in James 4 teaches that only God knows the future. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan and set priorities for whatever may come. We’ll talk about biblical planning today on MoneyWise. We never know what the future holds, especially in these uncertain times. So here are a few tips to help you set priorities and prepare for whatever the future may hold: TIME TO TACKLE YOUR DEBT First, if you’ve been procrastinating about getting out of debt, now’s the time to buckle down and do something about it. Interest rates on credit cards and variable rate loans like HELOCS are sure to rise, at least in the near term. Make paying down consumer debt an absolute priority. You can avoid the sting of rising credit card interest by contacting Christian Credit Counselors. They have pre-negotiated agreements in place with credit card issuers to lower your interest rates, and you can take advantage of them when you sign up for a debt management plan. They’ll help you get rid of credit card debt up to 80% faster than trying to do it by yourself. CREATE OR UPDATE SPENDING PLAN Now, your next priority is to create or adjust your budget. If you haven’t downloaded the free MoneyWise App yet, do it today. It offers three different ways to budget your money. One will be just right for you. As you set up your budget, you need to account for inflation. The price of just about everything is going up. The latest government data shows that the price of personal consumption items things like food and fue have shot up around 6% from last year. Unless you received a raise of 6% recently, you’ll have to make some adjustments. GREAT TIME TO SAVE If you’ve done all you can to trim expenses and find you now have a few extra dollars, don’t throw a party. Rising interest rates on loans means banks may soon offer higher rates on savings, so use the extra cash to beef up your emergency fund. No emergency fund? That’s certainly a priority and now’s the time to start one. Open a savings account at an online bank like Ally Bank, Marcusor Capitol One 360 Checking. Start tucking away something from every paycheck. Set a goal of $1500. Then one month’s living expenses. Eventually, you want to have 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses. That way you’ll be able to ride out a job loss or medical condition that prevents you from working for a time. Here’s another priority if you’re not happy with your retirement savings. You can take advantage of an IRS rule for 2022 that allows you to save an extra $1, 000 in your 401k or 403b account. The new contribution limit, which is tax deductible, is $20, 500. BUY ONLY WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR YOU The next priority is for prospective home buyers, especially those looking to purchase their first home. Don’t let rising interest rates keep you from buying a home if and ONLY if you’re prepared to do it. What does that mean? You should have 20% saved for a down payment to avoid private mortgage insurance. You also need to work up a budget that reflects your total housing costs, including mortgage. It should be 25% or less than your income. You also need to decide on a house you can afford within that budget. It will be less than most lenders are willing to lend you, so don’t get carried away. . If you meet all those criteria, it may be wise to buy now since interest rates are expected to continue rising in the months ahead. TIME FOR A RAISE OR EVEN A NEW JOB? Now, the last priority involves your job. Huge numbers of people have left their jobs to find something better. That means employers everywhere are looking for folks to fill those lots. It’s an unprecedented time to ask for a raise or promotion or to look for another job with a different company. Make the most of it. Start by updating your resume to reflect your current duties, skills and achievements. That will prepare you to negotiate a raise or promotion or to land a new position elsewhere. LISTENER QUESTIONS On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ●How should a homeowner address a major financial event such as mold remediation? ●How do you balance saving for a home with investing for the future? ●Is now a good time to refinance a mortgage? ●What is the proper way to tithe on your income? RESOURCES MENTIONED ●Bankrate. com

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