Signs Your Finances Are In Good Shape
Tracking our health is much easier with today’s technology. There are apps and devices that can measure your fitness level and track how many calories you have consumed and burned.
What about tracking our finances? Unfortunately, 61 percent of Americans have no idea what their financial wellbeing is.
Here are four SMART money signs that make up your financial health. Score yourself and track how financially fit you are!
1)SMART Money Sign No. 1: Retirement Savings. Forty percent of Americans are not saving for retirement. You want to save and invest enough to give yourself enough income without having to work. Are you saving enough? To find out how much you need to save, plug your numbers into this financial calculator: artofthinkingsmart. com/retire-calculator. How does it compare to what you are currently contributing to savings?
a) 10 points: Saving 100 percent of your annual contribution goal
b) 9 points: Saving at least 90 percent
c) 8 points: Saving at least 80 percent
d) 7 points: Saving less than 70 percent
2)SMART Money Sign No. 2: Emergency Savings. Almost two out of five Americans do not have an emergency fund. This means if an unexpected expense comes up, many of us have to borrow in order to cover it. How well are you prepared?
a) 10 points: six months or more of your household expenses saved
b) 9 points: three-five months saved
c) 8 points: one-three months saved
d) 7 points: less than one month
3)SMART Money Sign No. 3: Credit Score. Your score will determine the interest rate on all your loans and credit cards. The difference between a low and high score can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest paid from your loans over your lifetime! Your FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. What is your score? You can go to artofthinkingsmart.com/credit to get your free score and learn what you need to do to raise it fast.
a) 10 points: Score of 750 or higher
b) 9 points: Score between 720 and 749
c) 8 points: Score between 620 and 719
d) 7 points: Score less than 620
4)SMART Money Sign No. 4: Debt-to-income Ratio. This number shows how well you manage your debt. According to a 2014 FICO survey, 60 percent of credit-risk managers named high DTI ratios as their top concern in approving a loan. You calculate your ratio by adding up your minimum monthly debt payment and dividing it by your gross monthly income. For example, if the sum of your loans (mortgage, car, etc.) and your minimum monthly credit card payments is $2,000, and your monthly salary is $4,000, then your DTI ratio is 50 percent. This means half your income is going to paying down debt, and this only is making minimum payments on your credit card! What is your DTI ratio?
a) 10 points: DTI of 25 percent or less
b) 9 points: DTI of 26-36 percent
c) 8 points: DTI of 37-43 percent
d) 7 points: More than 43 percent (in most cases, this is the highest to qualify for a mortgage with favorable terms)
Your final result: Add up your total score and divide it by 4. If your score is 9 or more, congratulations, you are in excellent financial health! Make sure you continue working to stay there.
If your score is between 8 and 9, there is room for improvement, but you have made good progress, so keep it up. If your score is below 8, it is important to prioritize improving your financial health.
Go to artofsmartmoney.com for more information on how you can score a 10!