Grand Strand finance expert explains how to reach financial goals

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:26 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - April is Financial Literacy Month and Grand Strand finance experts are weighing in on how to manage money.

Dr. Christopher St. John with Carolina Wealth Advisors says start by understanding a budget and learn how to create one. He suggests making categories of wants and needs and think about fixed costs versus variable costs.

A fixed cost includes unchanging expenses, like rent. St. John said variable costs can include an expense, such as a vacation.

He added we all do mental accounting in our minds when it comes to how we spend money. By doing that, he explained how it’s too easy to spend more than what we have.

“If you’re going to get a check for $1,000, mentally you’ve spent 2,400 believe it or not,” he said. “So when you are looking at things like that, you need to write it down. When you write it down, you are held a little more accountable.”

Once you’ve got a good grip on your budget and savings, you can start looking at building credit and your future.

An example and opportunity for many people is 401K plans, and it’s important to remember you choose how much goes in.

“You have to think if there’s no pension and you aren’t putting in enough, think about your budget going back to the basics,” Dr. St. John said. “If it takes you 30,000 a year to live right now, do math. Forget inflation. How much do you need to sock away to spend 30,000 a year in retirement?”

Dr. St. John said you must think about financial independence now.

Being financially literate is also about understanding how credit works.

NerdWallet suggests eight ways to build credit, like paying bills on time, making frequent payments or becoming an authorized user. An authorized use is if you have a family member who has a high credit limit and responsible credit card use.

Some people might be thinking about investing and what you’re actually investing into.

NerdWallet also has information on cryptocurrency and if it’s a good investment. You can read more on cryptocurrency here.

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