Starting a family brings a whole new set of financial responsibilities, like visits to the pediatrician, saving for college, and don’t forget all those diapers and baby wipes. Such a huge change can make your wallet feel a bit thin. If you want some peace of mind about your new situation, check out how MSA couple Paul and Whitney eased their own fears of reaching financial goals.
Paul and Whitney have two young kids, ages three and six, and consider themselves to be “hardworking middle-class folks with college education” and a decent income of over $7,000 a month; nevertheless, they still felt the strain of meeting expenses. And they’re not alone. 38 million households live paycheck-to-paycheck even though two-thirds of them are not technically poor.¹
Paul and Whitney wanted to invest in their children’s futures (college) and secure their own financial future (retirement), so they jumped at the chance to join the MSA Financial Wellness program. As Paul and Whitney put it, “when the opportunity arose to learn about improving our money management, we were glad to have the opportunity.” From there, they went through a series of steps that helped them reach peace of mind – steps that you can follow too! Check it out…
Step 1: Trust Your Money Coach
First off, Paul and Whitney started working with MSA Money Coach Aaron. “Aaron was a great mentor – always timely and courteous in spite of the early morning phone calls, and patient/understanding.”
Think about it this way: you take your children to a pediatrician to make sure they’re well cared for and growing right, so why not do the same for your finances? A Money Coach can give you best practices for carrying out the following steps and making sure that your finances are healthy.
Your Next Step – Think about your own financial questions and family goals, then stay tuned for more details on how to get answers from your very own Money Coach. (Don’t worry. It’s easy!)
Step 2: Create a Spending Plan
Saving enough for financial goals – like funding college education – plays a part in current spending. (This is where the diapers and doctor visits come in.) With Aaron’s help, Paul and Whitney figured out how much of their monthly $7,400 income was going towards expenses like rent, food, medical bills, etc. Consequently, they could see how much was left over and boost the amount of $800.00 currently going towards college savings.
Your Next Step – Track your spending for the next 30 days, by writing down each expense, to get an idea of how you spend your own monthly income and how you might increase your own savings with money left over. Ask a Money Coach about how to do this, and receive handy worksheets to make the process even easier.
Step 3: Consider Retirement Savings
Paul and Whitney wanted their own future to be financially secure as well, but like 44% of Americans, they were stressed about retirement savings.² With a spending plan in place, they had a clear picture of how much money could go towards retirement.
Some employers will match (either in part or in full) the contributions their employees make to retirement accounts set up through the company, so Coach Aaron made sure that Paul and Whitney could put enough towards their retirement accounts in order to get the maximum employer match. They are now contributing 10% to the 401(k), with Whitney’s employer matching 10%, and they’re contributing 7% to their 403B, with a 5% match. So far, they have $45k saved!
Your Next Step – See if your own employer will match your contributions to a retirement account. If the employer match is an option, make sure you contribute enough to get the full match available.
Step 4: Reap the Rewards
Improving your finances deserves celebration, and what better gift is there than the long-lasting relief of financial security? (Besides delicious cake, of course.) Paul and Whitney’s dedication, along with the accountability and guidance of their Money Coach, brought amazing results:
Paul had this to say: “The sense of ‘quiet desperation’ has largely dissipated, resulting in improved relations between us (husband and wife)…. Thank you, Aaron, for helping us to help ourselves, and for restoring hope and reducing our financial stress level!”
Aaron enjoyed working with Paul and Whitney as well. “It’s always refreshing to work with a couple who plans their finances together and are on the same page with their financial goals. They were both eager to learn and open to all financial guidance. Working with people who are willing to make necessary changes to better their financial future and watching them experience the joy of financial success is the most rewarding part of my job.”
Your Next Step – Get relief like Paul and Whitney. Here’s how…
You want the best for your family, and providing the best for your family ties back to how well you manage your finances. Talk to your own Money Coach about how to navigate new expenses and goals, and get the same peace of mind that Paul and Whitney experienced. Getting started is easy, call 888-724-2326 today.
¹Kaplan, Greg, Giovanni Violante and Justin Weidner. “The Wealthy-Hand-to-Mouth.” brookings.edu. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 2014. Web. 25 Apr 2014.
²Stress in AmericaTM: Paying With Our Health. APA, 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2015. PDF.
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