Chase Offers Four Steps To Get Your Financial Fitness In Shape By Angela Swinson Lee — Special to The Informer

By Angela Swinson Lee
Special to The Informer

Angie Royster, Chase Market Director
Angie Royster, Chase Market Director

It’s the first quarter of a new year and many people like to eliminate bad habits and start a new practice. Now is the perfect time to get your finances in order, according to Angie Royster, a market director for JPMorgan Chase. 

Just like the resolution makers who rush to the gym to get fit and skinny by spring, those seeking to get financially fit must first assess where their finances currently stand. “If you want to lose some weight, you have to start by weighing yourself, look at what you’re eating, your exercise regime, and then come up with a plan to start living a healthier lifestyle,” Royster said. “It is the same concept with your finances, if you want to get into better financial shape, you have to start by accessing where you are financially, know what your goals are, and then come up with a budget to plan it out.”

Royster said it’s best to start by printing out bank and credit card statements. “This allows you to see what’s there.” She said financial health seekers should then write down their short- and long-term financial goals. 

Royster, a mother of four, gave an example of one of her personal short-term goals, which is to save for a vacation for her 20th anniversary. Other goals are a college education for her children and retirement. 

To assist potential savers in reaching their goals, Chase officers a budget builder worksheet which helps people get a view of their financial picture.  “It really is eye-opening when you can see how much you spend on those small things because they really can add up,” Royster said. “If you slowly get in the habit of saving each day or each week, it becomes second nature. It takes time, consistency, and discipline.” 

Once a budget is created, Royster said it’s important to take note of the extra spending to cut back on. “For example, it might be a want versus a need, such as eating out all the time. Now, I am not saying never eat out, but before you go just remind yourself how much have you budgeted to spend.” 

Royster said it may be a good idea cut back a couple of days and bring a bag lunch instead. 

To add to savings, Royster suggested that extra money, such as portions of work bonuses and tax refunds, should be put towards savings. 

Four steps should be followed when trying to get financially fit, Royster said.

The first thing is to set achievable goals

“There are so many ways to save in 2023, but first you have to figure out what you’re saving for,” Royster said. “Once you have the vision of what you’re saving for, it’s going to be easier to cut back your spending and start saving for those.”

The second step is to create and manage a budget. In addition to the budget builder, Chase offers a Wealth Plan, which allows users to see exactly where money is going, even assets from other banks. “Once you have your budget and review it, look at that and adjust it every three months. I recommend doing that because your finances change and your budget should change,” she said. 

The third step is to start saving. 

“I know it’s easier said than done. Building savings doesn’t happen overnight.  You really have to be intentional about putting money aside,” Royster said. 

The fourth step is to evaluate your progress

“Assessing your spending with what you plan on a regular basis can help you better manage your spending habits, and see how are you allocating. If you have to pay taxes or you’re getting a windfall, really look and see where your money is going and how you can budget accordingly.”

Royster said reviewing and updating your budget on a regular basis can help savers reach their goals. 

“I would just say the more you pay attention to your finances, the easier it will be to make your savings goal a reality,” Royster said. 

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