Fabric has helped tens of thousands of families protect their financial futures. Along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two.
Here are our top ten ways to seize control over your financial life—today.
One of the best ways to gain an honest snapshot is to check out three months of credit card bills and bank statements. Looking at a few months helps ensure that you aren’t getting caught on any anomalies (for example, wedding season).
If you’re married or in a serious relationship, it’s also important for your partner to know where to find all relevant accounts. Fabric Vault lets you connect your accounts and grant access to each other.
Make it real: Put 30 minutes on your calendar this week to review your most recent credit card and bank statements. Write down any surprises.
Start with the positive: What’s one thing you’re succeeding at? Maybe you’re consistently bringing lunch to work instead of getting Chipotle every single day. Or you use public transportation instead of taking a ton of Ubers.
Next, a little truth-telling: What are some areas you could do better? Maybe you pay for Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Prime and Spotify Premium . . . and you’re not consistently using any of them. Just sayin’.
Make it real: Choose one recurring expense realistically kick. (Realtalk: You’re not going to slash your budget in half through your coffee habits alone.) Then come up with a concrete plan and try it out for two weeks.
Penny-pinching is only part of the equation. If you really want to boost your cash flow, it's important to talk about earning more, too.
Think about the things you’re already doing well. Can you pick up more hours at work? Monetize any of your hobbies? Ask for a raise?
Make it real: Write down one money-making idea to explore over the next month.
Great news: 3 in 4 of our customers filled out a last will and testament online in under 10 minutes, and learned how to make it legally binding.
Make it real: Create your will and make it legally binding. You can fill out your will from your living room, or at the park.
Well, OK, not literally. But many experts recommend saving three to six months of living expenses in a “rainy day fund” to help protect against the unexpected, like job loss or medical bills.
Make it real: Login to your bank account. How much money do you have saved up that you could access in case of an emergency? Write that down. Next, estimate how much you spend on necessities each month for the whole family. Multiply that by six.
That’s your target amount. Now, subtract your existing savings from your target amount. That’s how much you should think about saving in order to hit your goal.
It’s a personal decision whether you want to pay for your children’s college education (and how much). Your costs will vary drastically depending on a number of factors.
Do you plan to contribute just a portion, or do you want to pay for the whole thing? Will you impose rules on your kids about going in-state vs. out-of-state? Do you expect your children to work while in college?
Your answers will play a big role in how you even start planning for the huge financial commitment that is college.
Make it real: Get out your calendar. Get out your spouse or partner’s calendar. Plan a time to chat this out together. And if your kids are mature enough to participate in a meaningful way, you might choose to include them, too.
Retirement may feel far off right now, but $100 invested today could turn into almost $800 over 30 years (assuming 7 percent rate of return)! In other words, the earlier you start, the longer your money has to grow.
Although other priorities might feel more immediate, retirement is a pretty unique financial goal because the only way you can get there is to save. When you’re buying a home, you can take out a mortgage. For college tuition, you or your kids can take out student loans. But there’s no such thing as a retirement loan.
That means that now’s probably your best time to get started.
Make it real: Figure out if your company offers a 401(k) match, by asking your HR rep. If so, sign up ASAP to take advantage.
Life insurance can be a key way to help protect your loved ones if anyone depends on you, like kids, spouses or other family members. You might also think about life insurance if you have certain kinds of debt. For example, if you have a mortgage, you might want to prevent your family from being forced to sell your house to pay off the mortgage.
With life insurance, if you pass away while your monthly payments are paid-up, the insurer will make a lump sum payment to the people of your choosing. The people you’ve named (your beneficiaries) can use this money to make ends meet or take care of expenses.
What will happen to your Facebook profile after you die? Does your life insurance beneficiary know where you have a policy? Do the people named in your will know what their roles are?
Some social sites, like Facebook, let you specify your “last wishes” for the platform (do you want a memorial page?) and a contact person who can make those decisions in the event of your death.
Meanwhile, you can connect your online financial accounts through Fabric Vault so you and your partner both know where to find important financial details.
If you have a will or term life insurance through Fabric, we’ve developed several tools to let you grant access to the people who matter, like your beneficiaries, executor and legal guardian.
Make it real: Grant access to info in your Fabric Will (login and update your will to share with these people), and spend 20 minutes doing some “digital estate planning.”
We get it. There’s a lot to do, especially if you have a family to take care of. Paying down debt, working on an emergency fund, saving for college, thinking about retirement . . . Not to mention occasionally buying something for yourself because you don’t want to live like a total monk.
So what comes first?
Make it real: Start with a deep breath. Then read our guide on how to prioritize your finances.
This article is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific tax or legal advice. Please note that Fabric and its representatives do not give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor or attorney concerning your own situation.
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Fabric Instant is an Accidental Death Insurance Policy (Form VL-ADH1 with state variations where applicable) and Fabric Premium is a Term Life Insurance Policy (Form ICC16-VLT and CMP 0501 with state variations where applicable). Policies are issued by Vantis Life Insurance Company. (Vantis Life), Windsor, CT (all states except NY), and by Vantis Life Insurance Company of New York, Brewster, NY (NY only). Coverage may not be available in all states. Issuance of coverage for Fabric Premium is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of Vantis Life.