By Angela Swinson Lee
Special to The informer
Vaughn Perry, director for the Skyland Workforce Center, has learned the importance of being intentional about saving money during his financial journey.
“You can’t afford not to save,” Perry said. “It allows us to create a financial plan and set financial goals for ourselves.”
April is Financial Literacy Month, and experts at JPMorgan Chase say it’s the perfect time to review finances from our spending to our saving. At the Skyland Workforce Center, Chase conducts financial workshops that have been added to its eight-day construction training course.
“I believe it sets our students up for success,” Perry said, adding that the classes help students with financial stability. “When people are more stable, they can be in a better space to make better decisions. I believe financial literacy is one of the keys to generational wealth and many of the things that are learned in Chase’s financial literacy workshop are not things that people have been exposed to previously.”
Perry gave examples of how bad credit can further exacerbate an already difficult, challenging
financial situation that some of his students have found themselves in. Bad credit can sometimes be barriers for employment. Class participants have said they were able to use the financial education they learned immediately in their everyday lives.
“The reality is that many people struggle to manage their daily finances,” said Chase Market Director Angie Royster. “More than half of Americans don’t have enough money saved on hand for a $500 emergency, and many Americans have high amounts of debt and don’t have enough savings.”
Royster said it’s just like daylight savings time when many people change the batteries in their smoke detector to make sure the devices remain in working condition in case of a fire. April should serve as your financial checkpoint.
“You want to know if you are financially where you want to be. You have to put all of your finances on paper,” Royster said, adding that many people don’t want to look at how much their spending. “You don’t want to have it in your face as a reminder. If you don’t do it, you will never know how much you are spending, how much you can put toward your savings goals to really find out where you are financially.”
While it’s important to set financial goals, Royster said that it’s important to prioritize, and determine what’s most important, such as children’s college education, retirement or a vacation. Chase has tools, such as the Budget Builder that can assist with setting goals with tools and calculators.
“Everyone is saving for something. It could be small, or it could be big,” she said.
Royster said that most importantly, people should pay themselves first, even if it’s $25 a week.
“I’m not saying deprive yourself of things, but you have to be smart about it. Don’t spend more than you can afford.”
When focusing on income, some people think that they need to get a part-time job, but Royster said there is power in redirecting funds that can generate an extra stream of income. That includes taking inventory of streaming services and other subscriptions that can be eliminated.
“Do you need five different streaming subscriptions? Find ways in your current budget where you can cut back. Take that money and invest it,” she said.
Chase offers several seminars are workshops that are free to the public. “We are ready to help, and financial literacy is not just about the knowledge you gain in April. Don’t wait for the smoke and the fire, start today.”
More information can be found at https://www.chase.com/personal/financial-goals