(BPT) - Anticipating the future can be difficult, particularly when it comes to your finances. But with the improving economy, more people are taking a proactive approach to planning for tomorrow and beyond. This is particularly true of Hispanics, who overall are feeling more positive about their financial situation than in the past.
According to new research commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), the top reasons why two-thirds of Hispanics feel more optimistic about their financial future this year than they did three years ago include getting a new job (40 percent), receiving a promotion or raise (34 percent) or gaining money on investments (18 percent). Some of this financial optimism could also be partially attributed to perceived preparedness - as most Hispanics say they have a plan to bounce back from financial challenges (85 percent).
'Having a plan to recover from unexpected challenges is important to keeping you and your family on track toward long-term goals,' says Dr. Chris Mendoza, a vice president at MassMutual. 'But it's also critical to look at what's truly important - the people whom you care about, the aspirations you have, the things you want to protect and the support you'd like to give to others. The first step is to get informed and educated about financial matters to make smart decisions about today and tomorrow.'
So how does one prepare for the unknown? A well-funded emergency nest egg is the first step, and here's how to get started:
Figure out where your money goes.Track your expenses, not just rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries and gas, but everything. Do you buy breakfast on your way to work? Pick up an extra cup of coffee to get you through the morning, or maybe that new shade of nail polish you've been coveting? Carry a spreadsheet or notebook to enter every payment you make. Once you are aware of all of your expenses, you will truly know where your money goes and can make a plan to maximize your cash flow.
Investigate what you have.Look at all aspects of your financial plan, including things like life insurance and IRAs, and determine how much you are paying for each. Be sure to look at the deductions in your paycheck, as well. You may find that you have forgotten the benefit elections you made as a new employee.
Identify opportunities for savings.Next, determine what spending can be reduced or eliminated. Also look to consolidate parts of your financial plan that may already be in place. Do you have two life insurance policies from separate companies? Perhaps consolidating with one company will net a cost savings. Investigate your employee benefits, as well. Many times, insurance benefits are available for free or at a reduced cost through your employer. Once you have identified the pockets of available cash, you can apply it to your savings goals.
Review your plan regularly.As your life changes, so do your financial goals and needs. Careers change, children grow up, marital statuses shift, salaries increase and so do families. Any number of events can cause parents to re-evaluate the goals and priorities that were established at the start of a marriage or a new job.
Although these tips may help to put you on the right footing to plan your financial future, the long-term commitment and discipline needed to develop a plan is time consuming and requires specialized expertise. Find an expert to help with planning your financial future - someone who can factor the needs of your family's long-term goals and develop a unique plan for you.
To learn more about preparing for your financial future, visit the 'Plan for My Financial Future' webpage at massmutual.com or in Spanish at massmutual.com/espanol. Locate a financial professional near you at massmutual.com/secure/locateanoffice.