Build a strong financial foundation Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 February 2017
Special to GUIDON

Much is written about the need to set financial goals. But what if you are just starting out? Maybe your experience saving money has been limited to tossing spare change in a jar. Maybe you’ve never invested a penny.

 But now you know it’s time you do something with your finances. And you know goals are important. Which goals should you set — and why?

 Here are four specific goals for those who are new to saving and investing:

 Review credit report and score
 This one is easy and can be done in a few minutes. Request your free credit report by going to You can — and should — also get your credit score.

 Why? Because reading your credit report lets you see what potential lenders see. It can also help you spot signs of identity theft.

As for your credit score, it’s a key factor in determining how much you will pay to borrow money. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850. Good credit management leads to higher credit scores, which in turn lowers your cost to borrow.

 Emergency fund
Start this process by opening a savings account at a bank or credit union expressly for the purpose of putting money away for a rainy day.

 Why? Because an emergency fund helps you deal with unplanned expenses (a car repair, for instance), rather than put these expenses on a credit card, or be forced to cut corners or go without.


 Save and invest 10 percent

 The easiest way to  accomplish this is through an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as the Thrift Savings Plan. Enroll, if you haven’t already — and contribute as much as you can while staying within your budget.

Many investment professionals believe that saving 10 percent is the minimum you need to save to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Read a book on personal finance
 We all have to start somewhere when it comes to learning about a new subject.

 Books about personal finance tend to touch on an array of valuable financial areas, from investing to life insurance, and each area is worth learning about.

 Chances are you’ll find the book far more interesting, and more understandable, than you thought it would be.

(Editor’s note: Article provided by
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 March 2017 )