The American Way: Planning for the Future
CFP Board Consumer Advocate Offers Financial Advice for New Americans
This Fourth of July, Americans will fire up their grills, watch fireworks and proudly display their red, white and blue—all to celebrate our country, our freedom and our rich tradition and history. These festivities are often especially significant to new Americans celebrating their citizenship.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (“CFP Board”) Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® encourages new Americans celebrating their naturalization to plan for their financial futures.
“Taking full advantage of the rights and privileges Americans enjoy – including our unique and often complicated financial systems – requires becoming financially naturalized as well,” says Blayney. “It’s important for all Americans – including new Americans – to obtain credit in their name, establish a credit history, and build their savings.”
In the latest installment of CFP Board’s “Let’s Talk Planning” blog and the third feature in its “Financial Planning is for Everyone” series, Blayney offers tips for new citizens:
- Get established with a bank or credit union. Having a local, regulated institution hold your money has numerous advantages. You’ll have records and a history of the flow of your money, which in turn leads to better financial management. You’ll be able to safely save and build up a reserve. You’ll have access to ready liquidity through a bankcard or checks.
- Get educated about the costs of education. Many new Americans come with the dream of their children getting a degree from a U.S. college or university. The benefits can be great, but so are the costs, and without careful planning and savings, an American education can become either unaffordable or lost in a mountain of debt. It's important that new Americans begin to save regularly for higher education using tax-advantaged accounts such as 529 plans or custodial accounts, and that they become familiar with the steps to qualify for federal aid.
- Take advantage of workplace benefits. One distinguishing factor of the U.S. economy is the extent to which the employer, rather than the government, provides key benefits to workers such as health care coverage, access to tax-advantaged retirement plans, and disability income coverage. This means that your choice of employer—and understanding of the benefits provided—can make a big difference in your financial stability and long-term security.
- Invest in yourself. America has always been the land of opportunity for those who work hard and are willing to invest in the future. This includes investing in yourself – in training, education and experience. Get involved in your neighborhood and community to become aware of the resources and support they can provide to help you achieve your personal vision.
Consulting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help new Americans develop strategies for building financial plans and getting a grasp on expenses to achieve their financial “American Dream.”
“If there’s one thing that new Americans have in abundance, it’s a vision for a better future. They have personal goals—many of them financial—that have been powerful motivators in their quest for citizenship,” says Blayney, “This is a necessary first step in the financial planning process.”
ABOUT LET’S TALK PLANNING AND FINANCIAL PLANNING IS FOR EVERYONE