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Last year alone, our FutureTrack coaches helped 900 USB customers with their financial journeys. While everyone’s story and goals are different, a few specific questions frequently came up during their conversations with our coaches.

Here are four of our most frequently asked questions from our customers, plus real advice from our FutureTrack coaches.

Q: How can I build credit or improve my credit score?

A: Customers often come to our FutureTrack coaches asking about credit and for good reason. Building credit and maintaining a good credit score can help you succeed in your other financial goals. Christina Michael-Cole, Senior Branch Manager and FutureTrack Coach at our Brookfield branch, had this to say about those looking to build credit:

“Don’t be afraid of using credit cards. They can help you build credit if you don’t have much credit history. Just make sure you pay it off each month and make your payments on time. Another tip is to keep the balance on your credit card low, try not to use more than 50%.”

Q: What steps can I take to reach my savings goals for major purchases?

A: Customers frequently work with a FutureTrack Coach to save for a major purchase, such as a car or a down payment on a home. Ray Giovanni, Senior Branch Manager and FutureTrack Coach in Monroe, recommends these steps:

“Along with establishing and sticking to a budget and setting up automatic transfers to pay bills and to go into savings account, it’s important to plan to pay down debt to improve credit while you save for a major purchase. It’s also a good idea to research ahead of time and prepare for any additional expenses that accompany that purchase, such as closing costs, application fees, etc. I recently worked with a customer who wanted to buy a car, and together, we walked through the car loan application process so he knew what to expect.”

Q: How much should I aim to have in emergency savings?

It’s a general rule of thumb to have anywhere between 3-6 months of expenses on hand in case of an emergency. But to save that much is easier said than done. Geoff Ball, USB Senior Branch Manager and FutureTrack Coach in New Milford, offers these tips:

“To build up emergency savings, you must first set up a budget to know how much money you can set aside each month. Often, I’ll encourage FutureTrack customers to use our savings calculators to determine that amount and how long it will take to reach that 3-6 month threshold. It’s also important to keep working toward your other savings goals and build your emergency fund, so it’s critical to find that right balance. Once you determine a monthly contribution to emergency savings that you’re comfortable with, setting up an automatic transfer can help you stay on track.”

Q: Am I taking advantage of all my retirement options through my employer?

A: Saving for retirement is a common goal for our FutureTrackers. While there are many strategies to help you stay on track, reviewing your current retirement plans and contributions is often helpful to ensure you’re taking full advantage of what is being offered to you. Nicole Holtz, USB Branch Manager and FutureTrack Coach in New Fairfield, shares her advice:

“Along with increasing your contributions and ensuring you’re getting your full employer match, reviewing and possibly consolidating all your retirement accounts from previous employers is also a good idea. This allows you to streamline your finances, better track your investments, and possibly reduce any account or maintenance fees. To take things a step further, you can meet with an expert at USB’s Wealth Management team to make sure you’re staying on track and potentially contribute to a Roth IRA so your money can grow tax-free.”

No matter what questions you have about your financial goals and how to budget for them, our FutureTrack coaches are here to help. Book a meeting with one of our FutureTrack coaches today! 

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