Whether you’re 16 or 46, it’s important to think about your financial future. Understanding financial basics like budgeting, savings, and credit is a critical first step. Then, it’s important to set financial goals – becoming debt-free, paying for college, or retiring before age 60 – and to develop a plan to achieve those goals.
When working toward your goals, it makes sense to use all of the tools at your disposal. Here are some free online resources to guide you through the financial education and planning processes, including several resources from SAC Federal Credit Union.
Tools for today
Establish a firm foundation for your financial goals and manage your money with these online tools.
Financial Avenue: This free online education program teaches users the basics of personal money management. There are courses and mini-lessons, plus tools, articles, and videos. You can pick and choose which sections of the program are most applicable to you and complete them on your own schedule.
MyMoney.gov: This site, run by the U.S. government, covers financial basics, such as taxes and planning for life events like the birth of a child. MyMoney.gov pulls resources from more than 20 federal agencies and bureaus and, where appropriate, links to those agencies for more detailed information.
SAC Money Manager: Use this tool to track your spending habits and net worth and to manage budgets and payment due dates. This secure resource allows you to pull in account information from multiple financial institutions to conveniently display your financial “big picture.”
SAC Mobile Access app: Being in touch with your assets is essential to meeting your financial goals. Use your iPhone or Android device to access your SAC Federal Credit Union accounts and stay current on your account activity. Plus, you can check your balance or transfer money on the go! And if you don’t have a smartphone, you can still check your balances or transfer money with SAC’s text banking feature. You can use any of these mobile banking services after enrolling for mobile services inside CU@Home.
Tools to plan for the future
Annual credit report: It’s crucial to understand your credit score before applying for large loans like a mortgage. According to federal law, the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) must give you a free credit report every year if you ask for it. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to order all three reports at the same time free of charge.
Retire Logix: This free app from the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) features an interactive calculator that helps you better understand your various income sources for retirement. The Pro version costs $1.99 and helps you plan for future college costs, as well.
ChoosetoSave.org: Promoting the idea that saving today is essential for financial security tomorrow, Choose to Save® has developed a wide variety of easy-to-use materials designed to assist you in planning and saving for the future. You’ll have access to online calculators, brochures, outside resources, and more.
Looking for more ways to boost your money know-how? Our e-books are a great place to start:
Make it a team effort
Like a lot of things, financial education can be more fun when you’re working with others. Encourage your friends and family to join you in the education process to:
- 1. Work with a study buddy. If something doesn’t make sense, you can ask a friend to help you understand the topic. On the flip side, explaining core concepts to others can help you solidify your own understanding.
- 2. Feel less overwhelmed. There are a lot of online tools out there. Divide and conquer a set list of resources and share your favorite pieces. That way, you all gain the benefits even if you don’t have time to scour every website on your own.
- 3. Create a plan together. If you’re part of a couple, planning for retirement (or any large financial goal) requires you to be on the same page. Learning and planning together can make that a fun and collaborative process!