Norwich, NY (April 15, 2013) – Throughout the nationwide initiative of Financial Literacy Month this April (www.financialliteracymonth.com), and year-round, individuals can take charge of their financial situation by following these key tips from NBT Bank and Money Management International for creating and managing a budget, paying down debt while saving for emergencies, and establishing achievable goals to assist them in achieving financial success.
10 Keys for Financial Success
1. Spend Less Than You Earn. It’s important to create and maintain a budget or spending plan that tracks your spending. This helps to keep you from overdrafting your account or accruing more debt than you are able to pay off.
2. Have a Plan. To get organized, first write down your financial goals, then start tracking your expenses and see how they compare to your goals.
3. Prepare for Expected Events. There are many events in life that we know are going to happen, so be sure to plan well in advance for holidays, retirement, and other life events.
4. Prepare for Unexpected Events. Then there are those unexpected situations like medical emergencies, job loss, or natural disasters. Be sure to have money saved for these events, too.
5. Always Know Your Interest Rates. It’s very important to know what you pay on interest and fees and how your interest is being calculated. As a general rule, your interest rate on loans should never exceed 13%.
6. Keep a Healthy Credit Report. You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, paying off your balances each month, and not applying for credit cards frequently. Also, be sure to check your credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
7. Avoid Waste. Other ways to avoid wasting money include eating at home, clipping coupons, and returning purchases you won’t use.
8. Take advantage of Tax Breaks. Sometimes it pays to have a professional accountant help you with your taxes. Be sure to look for available tax breaks like the Earned Income Credit and VITA
9. Fill in the Financial Gaps. Still need some extra income? Consider having a garage sale, selling items on eBay, selling excess produce at a Farmer’s Market, or offering a personal service like house cleaning.
10. Give Back to Your Community. When you start budgeting and saving your money, you then become able to contribute to charitable organizations in your local community.
NBT Bank provides a variety of resources to help parents, educators and employers support kids, teens and young adults in becoming financially savvy. The Bank’s financial education program Strive® provides in-classroom and online financial education to help today’s youth and young adults grow their money skills. It is a source for learning and inspiration to help them establish a positive relationship with money and navigate personal finance as their financial needs mature.
Contact your local NBT Bank office for assistance in developing a financial plan or visit www.nbtbank.com.
NBT Bank offers personal banking, asset management and business services through a network of 161 banking locations in five states. NBT Bank operates from 121 locations in upstate New York, northwestern Vermont and western Massachusetts. NBT’s Pennstar Bank division operates from 35 locations in northeastern Pennsylvania, and its Hampshire First Bank division operates from five locations in southern New Hampshire. NBT Bank and its parent company, NBT Bancorp Inc., are headquartered in Norwich, N.Y. NBT Bancorp Inc. had assets of $6.0 billion as of December 31, 2012, and is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol NBTB. More information about NBT Bank and NBT Bancorp can be found on the Internet at http://www.nbtbank.com and http://www.nbtbancorp.com.