The new year for many means more than flipping the page on a calendar. It’s the start of new beginnings and the chance to lead a better life, whether professionally, personally, or otherwise. Patrick Swindale, who is pursuing his Masters of Science in International Logistics Management, says it is the ideal opportunity to get ahold of your financial future. With many Americans in debt, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, he has a vested interest in helping others establish solid financial footing and plan for a more stable tomorrow. Here are his top tips.
3 Tips to Revamp Your Finances in 2020
1. Repay Credit Card Debt
According to WalletHub, Americans on average owe more than $1 trillion, or $8,700 average per household, in credit card debt. Unfortunately, many people turn to credit cards to finance purchases when they can’t make ends meet with their income, an all-too-common problem. But while financing with credit cards can be convenient and even sometimes necessary for emergencies or other unexpected circumstances, it is quite expensive with interest rates often around 30% APR. Patrick Swindale recommends making a resolution to pay off 20% of your credit card debt in the next year by utilizing principles like those outlined by Forbes*. Doing so will not only take a weight off your shoulders but can up your credit score and save you significant money in the long-run by allowing you to avoid costly interest.
2. Make an Emergency Fund
No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but as Patrick Swindale learned in Boy Scouts, in life it is always best to be prepared. As a rule of thumb, everyone should have at least one month’s pay squirreled away as an emergency fund. If you can’t put all of that away at once save as much as you can from each paycheck. Take an honest, thorough look at your expenses and see where you can cut down, Patrick Swindale advises. You may be surprised how much little things, like groceries, gas, or nights out on the town, can add up.
3. Make a Budget and Stick to It
Finally, perhaps the most essential tip, Patrick Swindale says, is to make a realistic budget and stick to it. Determine how much money you’re bringing in and how much you are spending on everything, from food and housing to transportation and entertainment. For most people, there will be clear areas where you’re spending a bit more than you need to be. For example, you may consider using the bus or riding your bike to work instead of always driving your car. Or, you might skip the daily drive-through coffees and make your cup at home. Find some useful budgeting tips here* to get started.
More on Patrick Swindale
Patrick Swindale works full-time as an engineer at HMS Global Maritime, Inc. and maintains a 4.0 grade-point average at the Loeb School for International Business at Maine Maritime Academy. When Patrick Swindale is not at work or in class, he spends time with his family and takes his autistic brother, of whom he is a legal guardian, to the gym or hiking five days a week.
An Eagle Scout and former assistant scoutmaster, Patrick Swindale is community-minded and spends his remaining hours giving back. He assists with his old Scout group and local charity efforts and has participated in St. John Bosco Youth Group and Knights of Columbus and is a regular speaker at his church. In college, he was also involved in Kappa Sigma and Alpha Phi Sigma.
“I carry myself with passion for whatever job I’m committed to,” Patrick Swindale said.