Refinance Checklist

Planning During Financial Uncertainty

Uncertain financial times caused by loss of income, a recession, unexpected illness, and other events outside of your control can be scary. It helps to be prepared for whatever the future might bring.

While no two financial situations will be exactly alike, especially in times of economic uncertainty, there are some financial strategies that everyone can use. Here's a list of some things to keep in mind as you assess your plan.

  1. Understand Your Cash Flow
  2. Create an Emergency Budget
  3. Set up an Emergency Fund
  4. Reduce Debt
  5. Review Your Investments
  6. Ask for Help

Understand Your Cash Flow

It's always smart to familiarize yourself with your daily spending routines by taking a close look at your finances. What percentage of your cash goes toward housing and utilities? What bills do you split with your partner? What is funneled toward extras (e.g., daily coffee or dining out)? When you know where your money is going, it's easier to keep track of it.

Free money management tools and software programs can help. Many use pie charts and graphs to depict your finances visually. A simple Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet with columns for money coming in and money going out can also work well.

Learn more about BECU Money Manager 

Schedule a free financial health check

Create an Emergency Budget

An emergency budget is different from an emergency fund. An emergency budget consists of you taking your everyday budget (or basic understanding of what you're spending now) and identifying things you will be able to cut when times get tight.

Doing this in advance can help you move to life within your emergency budget more seamlessly, if necessary. 

Build your own customized budget

Set up an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is an account with money set aside for true emergencies. This account should be separate from everyday checking and savings, and not tapped for impulse buys or planned expenditures, such as a new washing machine (unless it dies unexpectedly). Your emergency fund is for unpredictable events, like medical bills or urgent home or car repairs.

Experts say an emergency fund should be able to cover living expenses for three to six months. For most of us, that's a lofty goal, and it may take years to save that much. Saving a good portion of a bonus or tax refund is one way to kick-start an emergency fund, but simply saving a small amount of money each month is another way to slowly build it up.

Reduce Debt

Reducing what you owe now will free up more money when you need it. A helpful place to start is a debt calculator. Identify everything you owe and see if you can save through lower interest rates or consolidation.

Review Your Investments

If you're nearing retirement, you're likely monitoring investment and retirement accounts closely. Those with more time left in the workforce should review allocations every few years. If uncertain economic times appear likely, talk to an expert who can help you move things around.

Schedule time with an investment advisor

Ask For Help

Sometimes all the planning in the world can't prevent financial emergencies. If you find yourself unable to make your loan payment or facing significant financial duress, let us know. As a BECU member, you have multiple resources available to you, and we may be able to help. Talk to us before the payments get too large or are missed.

Learn more about member assistance options

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