Today, more than ever, people are re-evaluating what brings them joy. The pandemic has led many people to rethink their work schedules, childcare arrangements and the need to take time to appreciate the little things. For some of life’s joys, it can be helpful to do some planning. Whether it’s going to college, buying a home, taking a vacation or even throwing a great birthday or anniversary party, you can enhance these joyful life events by planning ahead.
Buying your First Home
What an exciting time! Buying a house can be intimidating as it’s one of the biggest investments you will make so planning is paramount. Start off by determining how much you can afford. Typically, your mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 30% of your income. Using an online mortgage calculator can help you understand what your total monthly expense will be and how that is impacted based on the amount of your down payment. This information will help you understand how much you need to save before purchasing a home. Remember, your savings will also need to cover fees associated with purchasing a home such as getting a home inspection and appraisal, escrow set up and closing costs.
Once you determine your savings goal, start saving and stick to it! Putting a timeline on your savings can help you budget accordingly and know exactly how much you should be saving each month. Consider setting up automatic transfers to your savings account each payday. By paying yourself first and putting this money into a separate account, there will be less temptation to spend it. It will require diligence, but the joy of purchasing your first home will be well worth the planning effort!
Sending Kids to College
Helping your child continuing their education is exciting but can also be intimidating when you consider the expense. The key to planning for this milestone is to start saving early and save often. The sooner you start saving, the more time there will be for those savings to grow and earnings to compound in an investment account such as a 529 College Savings Plan. Other options include prepaid tuition plans and Coverdell Education savings accounts. Any time you are considering any type of investment or savings option, always speak with your financial specialist to guide you to the choice that is right for you. There are also some great online College Savings Calculators that can help with your planning. These tools are great to ensure you are on track based on your child’s age and how much time your money will have in the market.
Celebrating a Special Occasion (Vacations, Birthdays, Anniversaries)
How many times do these celebrations come up and we just don’t feel like we have enough saved? Considering how you see, spend, save and think about your money can help you plan for these joyful celebrations.
See – See where you stand today. What is your income vs. your expenses? Consider using a financial management tool from your bank. These tools will help you manage a budget, track your spending and help you save for these life events by allowing you to see your whole financial picture.
Spend – Take a look at past account statements to see where your money is going. Is there anything you are paying for that you no longer use? Consider dropping the product or service and save that money. Take a look at repeat purchases and see if there is a cheaper alternative, such as making coffee at home rather than buying it at a local coffee shop or maybe only purchase every once in a while, rather than every day.
Save – Feel good about any amount you can save. Consider auto deduction to your savings account. Start small and build the amount over time. Any amount you save today is more than you did yesterday. Many times, people don’t even miss the amount going from their checking to their savings as they don’t see it leave but are thankful it is in their savings account when they need it. A savings goal calculator can help you create a plan for reaching your goal.
Think – Keep track of your money daily by using online or mobile banking. With the dollar volume of attempted fraud transactions rising 35% last year, keeping your money top of mind is imperative to protecting it. With online and mobile banking, you can easily keep an eye on your accounts and quickly notice any unauthorized purchases or transactions. It also allows you to keep an eye on how your savings are progressing and easily transfer money into savings anytime.
No matter what you’re saving for, Univest is here to listen and serve as your partner. Stop by any of our financial centers or visit www.univest.net to schedule an appointment with one of our representatives. We can provide financial solutions to help you meet your goals and save for all of life’s joys – big and small.
Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. NMLS #415882