PERSONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCE HUB

United Way’s Financial $tability Partnership™ was created to strengthen communities by identifying and tracking the underlying causes of the financial hardships facing today’s families.  This page is designed to answer your questions about your finances.

For a well rounded guide to budgeting, saving and investing try saveandinvest.org a not-for-profit resource dedicated to your financial health. Here you will find unbiased financial tools and information for military families and all investors from the FINRA Foundation.

Budgeting

Having, and sticking to, a budget or spending plan is a great way to get your spending under control. A budget will show you what you HAVE to spend (food, bills, rent or mortgage, loans, etc.)  Once you know what you HAVE to spend then you know what CAN spend (or save).

Example – Bob brings home $2000 per month.  His rent is $500, he spends $250 on food, $300 on utilities, $200 for gas, $250 on a car payment, $100 for insurance and $50 goes into his savings account.  That totals $1650 per month.  That leaves Bob $350 each month for everything else.  Bob knows that is about $11.50 per day.  If you are having trouble keeping to a monthly budget, try a smaller time frame.  Figure up your monthly spending money and divide it by 30.  That will give you an idea of how much you have to spend each day, after all of your other expenses have been covered.  Try not spending more that that each day.  Once you feel comfortable on a daily spending limit, try it for a week.  For Bob, that would be about $87.50 per week.  Set reasonable and attainable goals for yourself.  Living on a budget is a habit worth developing!

Below are some resources for developing a household budget.

Online Budget Templates and Tools

If your budget shows you have more expenses than income, there are many ways to get out of trouble.  Remember, everyone has different priorities.  You will have to make the decisions that are right for you.  Need some advice?  Check out these sites.

  • MyMoneyCheckup – A comprehensive money management and advice tool from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  And it is FREE!  Try it out.
  • The Nest – How to guide for creating a personal budget.

Credit

If you’ve maxed out your credit cards and don’t know how you’re going to pay off your debts, you may think that a company that promises to erase the debt for pennies on the dollar is the answer to your prayers. Not true! Debt negotiation can be risky, and it can have serious, long-term consequences for your credit report and your ability to get credit in the future.

Source: FTC Money Matters

Getting Help with Debt

Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, their Certified Consumer Credit Counselors will:

  • Advise you on managing your money;
  • Offer solutions to your current financial problems;
  • Develop a personalized plan to help you prevent future difficulties.

Bankrate.com offers lots of information about debt and debt reduction.  Check that out here.

Taxes

There are many resources available for you at tax time.  The best time to start preparing for tax season is now!  Make sure your withholding is accurate, so that you do not have any surprises.  The IRS Withholding Calculator will ensure that you W-4 is correct.

Free Tax Preparation

My Free Taxes -  File Your State and Federal Taxes Here for FREE! You save $200 right now by filing federal and state income taxes for free. On average, MyFreeTaxes.com can help you save over $2,000 in tax refunds.

Who Qualifies?
Individuals or families with a combined income under $60k in 2014

What is needed?
A valid email address
Income Forms (w-2's, 1099's, 1098's)
For more information, see the Tax Checklist

VITA
The VITA Program offers free tax help to people who make $60,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in local communities. They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

Find a VITA site near you.

If you don’t qualify for VITA, you have options.  If you only have to file a 1040-EZ you can use many online tax services at no charge.  Be sure you are ready with your W2s and read carefully so as not to incur any charges.  This article compares some of the most popular online tax preparation sites.

Planning for the Future

Whether it is retirement or college, the future can be expensive!  Careful planning is the best way to be prepared.

If you have never had a savings account today is a great day to start one!  Learn how to become a saver here - West Virginia Saves.   All across the state, West Virginia Saves is helping West Virginians to build wealth through saving and the reduction of debt. West Virginia Saves provides tools and tips to help West Virginia Savers reach their personal financial goals.Membership in West Virginia Saves is free and offers a lot of great benefits and incentives. You do not have to be rich to build wealth. Why wait another minute? Don’t wait any longer, join West Virginia Saves today!

How much will I need?

Good question.  There are many variables to consider.  Below are a list of calculators to help you answer that question.

Saving Calculators

College Savings Calculator

College Expense Calculators

Retirement Saving Calculator

Retirement Income Calculator- How much money will I need?

Earned Income Tax Credit Calculator

WV College Savings Plan- SMART529 is West Virginia’s 529 college savings program, offering a variety of investment strategy options designed to meet a range of needs and college attendance timelines. SMART529 offers flexibility; investors may purchase the 529 plans directly, or through financial investment advisors.

If you don’t know where to start, your best bet is to talk to your bank.  Most banks have financial planners on staff, or can help you find the right person in your community.  Financial planners aren’t just for the wealthy.  Everyone can benefit from their advice.  If you are having trouble finding someone you can use the NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) or the Financial Planning Association, planner-search tools.

Financial Literacy Education

There are many resources to help you improve your personal finance skills.  Below is a list of self-paced online financial education tools.

  • My Money – MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education.
  • Building Wealth- A personal finance education resource for schools, nonprofit community organizations, financial services providers and consumers to help young people, adult consumers, families and others develop a plan for building personal wealth.
  • Money Smart - The newly enhanced Money Smart Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) is an easy-to-use tool to learn more about basic personal financial management.

Financially Fit - Brochure

 

 

 

If online learning isn’t for you United Way’s Financial $tability Partnership™ offers in person training sessions.  For more information contact:

Financial $tability Partnership™
United Way of the River Cities, Inc.
820 Madison Avenue
Huntington, WV 25704
Phone: 304.523.8929
Fax: 304.523.9811
Ed Davis, Financial $tability Partnership™ Director – x103
ed.davis@unitedwayrivercities.org
 
Rachel Houston, Assistant Financial $tability Partnership™ Director – x111
rachel.houston@unitedwayrivercities.org


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