3 Tips to Score a Gold Medal in Financial Fitness

(StatePoint) When it comes to financial fitness, careful training and preparation may not get your face on a cereal box, but it could score you a gold medal in savings.

Over the past year the pandemic has changed the game, with many Americans looking to shape up their savings. According to a March 2021 Consumer Sentiment Study by Lincoln Financial Group and CivicScience, one in four employed adults feel they are lagging behind in saving for retirement, and fewer than one in 10 would award themselves a gold medal across five categories of financial fitness: managing debt, sticking to a budget, saving for retirement, choosing benefits at work and being financially prepared for an emergency.

“Having the right benefits in place to protect you today, while planning for your tomorrow, has become more important than ever, and it all starts with having a complete picture of your financial wellness,” said Jamie Ohl, executive vice president, president, Workplace Solutions, head of Operations and Brand, Lincoln Financial Group. “It’s a journey, much like fitness, and you can’t start without taking the first step toward the financial future you envision.”

Lincoln Financial offers three steps to shape up your savings and score the financial future you desire:

1: Have the right equipment: Get an accurate financial snapshot of where you are now. A good place to start is with financial wellness tools, which many employers offer their employees. With these tools, you can create a personalized action plan and improve your financial well-being, whether that’s a plan to pay down debt or create an emergency savings fund. You can also take advantage of retirement income estimators to get a realistic view of your income sources in retirement. And for those struggling with competing financial priorities, including debt, Lincoln’s debt calculator can help.

2: Set a goal: Just like athletes aspire to be at the top of their sport, you can set a specific goal to work toward while celebrating the small victories along the way. A good rule of thumb is to save at least 10% to 15% of your pay. If that feels out of reach, start where you can and try increasing contributions a little each year to see big changes in total savings over time. In the years leading up to retirement, you have the option to make catch-up contributions if you are behind where you want your savings to be. 

3: Meet with a financial “coach” to determine a game plan: Improving your financial fitness is a team sport. Your financial professional, employer, retirement plan provider — they’re all there to help. A financial professional can help you take a holistic view of your finances, from accumulation to protection to distribution, helping ensure all considerations are taken into account and planned accordingly. If your employer offers retirement consultants, schedule a meeting to help you understand the full picture of your savings and where to focus your efforts.

Just like it can be hard to find time for workouts, the same goes for exercising financial fitness, and your competing priorities can have an impact on savings. The good news? There’s always time to formulate a financial game plan and score a spot on the savings podium.

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Photo Credit: (c) BrianAJackson / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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