HOW TO START YOUR FINANCIAL JOURNEY
Updated: Nov 23
Financial freedom is an aspiration many of us have, but the actual steps required to get there aren’t clear with contrasting guidance all around us. Though there is a lot of noise around effectively managing your finances, three fundamentals can’t be argued: financial freedom requires strong credit, proactive planning, and a disciplined budget. So long as you are aligned with those three concepts, you should be on your way to achieving your financial goals. If you’re like most of us, you might still be trying to figure out all of the fundamentals – which isn’t made very easy without trustworthy and digestible resources. If you are just starting your financial journey, follow this guide to help you navigate the fundamentals like a pro. It’s time to take the reins of your credit and finances!
Creating And Maintaining Your Budget
You can do all of the planning in the world, but planning does nothing for you without consistent action that you hold yourself accountable to. That’s what your budget does for you, and why it’s the first place to start when you’re taking the reins of your finances. Your budget is your way to create boundaries for yourself that enable you to strategically plan your spending, ensuring it’s in line with your financial goals. Just as setting goals without action doesn’t benefit you, setting a budget without sticking to it also serves you no good. Consistency and discipline with your budget are required. ScoreNavigator also offers financial analysis and budgeting tools to help you get started with your budget and stay on track. ScoreNavigator’s budget tool allows you to input your monthly expenses and sources of income to help you build a customized budget that is perfectly in line with your credit and financial goals. It’s important you not only understand how to work toward financial freedom, but why each step you are taking toward that goal is important. With the right tools and resources, like those offered by ScoreNavigator, you can develop an expertise with your personal finances that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Building Your Credit Scores
The next step toward reaching your financial and credit goals is building your credit score. Your credit scores are decided by three companies, known as credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each of those companies reviews the data on your credit report and then assign you a credit score based on those factors. There are free, or inexpensive, online resources you can use to check your credit reports, but don’t be surprised if you are left with more questions than answers. Unfortunately, typical credit reports provide very minimal information beyond the credit score itself (and potentially some accounts you probably already knew existed). A traditional credit report doesn’t tell you where you lost points with your credit score or how to make improvements. The lack of transparency in credit reports is exactly what sparked ScoreNavigator and their Point Deduction Technology. With ScoreNavigator, you are able to not only access your credit, but you also get a breakdown of positive and negative credit lines, where your credit score lost points, and exactly how you should prioritize your credit journey. You’ll see exactly where to spend your energy to make credit improvements, but you’ll also be able to catch any mistakes you might have on your credit report. An unfortunate truth is that credit reporting mistakes are quite common. Under the context of millions of credit lines being reporting and evaluated, you can see the room for error. To be certain your credit has been accurately reported, detailed credit reports are key.
Planning For Your Future Not only does Score Navigator let you check your credit report and equip you with recommendations to make improvements, they also have various tools that help you set credit and financial goals. With any of their fantastic simulators, you can get practical guidance that helps you work toward any future goal you might have, whether that be how to spend your additional income after a recent raise, or what you should do today to be able to buy a house in a couple years. Check out the different tools ScoreNavigator offers and some example use-cases:
Target Score Simulator: The Target Score Simulator allows you to use your current personal credit data to set goals with customized recommendations. That is true for all of ScoreNavigator’s tools, actually. With the Target Score Simulator, specifically, you are able to input a credit score goal you have for the future (which could be for a line of credit you want to take out or just a personal goal) then the Target Score Simulator will highlight action steps you can take to improve your score, while also sharing insight into the best days of the month to pull your credit to ensure the best results.
Money Simulator: Using the Money Simulator, you are able to simply enter a dollar amount you would like to contribute toward payment, and the Money Simulator will highlight the most effective use of the additional funds based on your current accounts. Let the Money Simulator expertly do the hard work for you.
Manual Simulator: The most versatile simulator ScoreNavigator offers; the Manual Simulator lets you identify exactly how action would affect your credit score, whether it is a positive or negative change. That could be to pay down debt, cancel an account, or anything else. This helpful simulator allows you to eliminate the guesswork when it comes to credit score influence and empowers you with exactly what you need to know to build a strong score.
You have the power to take control of your credit and finances. When you are equipped with a strong understanding of how to maintain good credit, how to achieve your financial goals, and what habits you need to create to support both of those things, there is nothing you can’t accomplish. Financial freedom doesn’t have to just be a dream for the future you – you can start taking action toward financial independence today, with ScoreNavigator.