January 10, 2022

If there’s one thing you can always count on in life, it’s change. Some changes are little; some are big. Some are “lose-a-week-of-sleep” big. Some changes are as simple as picking out a new color of carpet, while others are as complex as picking who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with – living on that carpet.

And with every new change comes a new financial challenge. Changing careers, moving, getting married, starting a family, buying a car – those are just a few examples that scratch the surface. Some of these changes can be planned for, while others might come as unexpected surprises.

These changes can be exciting, but they can also be extremely overwhelming since they can cost a lot of money. That’s why it’s important to have the financial tools and resources you need to keep moving forward.

Here’s a guide to help you think through what you might need to take that next step and your best options to get there. Let’s look at a common example: moving to a new home.

Step 1: Identify what you know, and what it will cost

Before you get overwhelmed with all the details and expenses, start by writing down what costs you already know about. They could be things like:

  • I need 1st months’ rent plus the security deposit for the new rental
  • I need to pay for professional carpet cleaners to meet my move-out requirements
  • I need to pay for repairs to a few damages I made before moving out
  • I need to make sure I pay off the last of my utility bills at my current place

Step 2: Identify what you don’t know

Once you’ve had a chance to track down all of the expenses you know about, it’s time to identify expenses you don’t know about. Think about the process as a whole, and consider things like:

  • How much will it cost to hire movers?
  • How much will it cost to hire cleaners?
  • Will I get my security deposit back from my current rental?
  • How much do I have for these expenses, and how much will I need to borrow?

Step 3: Identify resources you have and map out next steps

Now that you’ve identified expenses that you unsure of, it’s time to start filling in those gaps so you have a better picture of what you’ll need financially. Start getting quotes as quickly as you can for services you need, talk with your landlord about what to expect from your deposit, etc.

Once you have a better idea of the big picture cost for whatever you’re planning for, evaluate your current financial situation. If you have savings set aside that can help, that’s great. If not, don’t let that hold you back from making important steps forward in life.

Borrowing can help keep you moving forward

If you need to borrow to help cover expenses, it’s extremely important to borrow in the right way. Not all loans and lines of credit are created equally and choosing the right one can save a lot of money.

Do look into personal loans and HELOCs

Personal loans and lines of credit tend to have reasonable interest rates. If you’re a homeowner, you can tap into your equity with a HELOC (home equity line of credit). These are all fantastic low-cost choices to help cover expenses, so check them out first. The less you pay in interest, the more you’ll have to fund your next chapter.

Don’t pay more if you can avoid it

Things like payday loans and cash advances are a very expensive way to borrow, so avoid them if you can qualify for one of the options above.

Credit cards shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re making a large purchase you can’t pay back immediately. They’re great when used within a budget and paid off regularly, but when used for expenses that take months or years to pay back, they’re an extremely expensive option. Also, avoid borrowing from your retirement funds as there may be fees and taxes if you don’t meet certain terms. In addition, you’re forfeiting the money you’d have earned through compound interest, so that’s actually an added cost.

Whatever life throws your way, know that you aren’t alone. We’re ready to help fund your next chapter.

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