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Financial wellness

It's important to check-in on your financial wellness and set new goals once a year, but knowing where to start can be difficult. Determine what’s important in your short-term and long-term financial future. Follow the steps below to work toward greater financial wellness.

Step 1: Set your goal, and make it SMART.

  1. Review our SMART goals guide.
  2. Choose a broad goal (see step two, below) to get additional tips and resources that can help you achieve your SMART goal. If your SMART goal doesn't align with one of the broad goals listed below, don't worry! Access resources to support your specific goals in the right-hand boxes.
  3. If you need help setting a goal, log in with your Fidelity credentials to access the Fidelity Financial Wellness Checkup tool, which can help you evaluate where you are financially and determine areas you can improve to move closer to financial wellness.

Step 2: Take steps to get there.

Create a budget

Creating a monthly budget can help you stay on track and avoid excess spending, but depending on your schedule and goals, it can also be helpful to outline your weekly or annual spending. To move toward creating a budget that works for you, follow the steps below:

  1. Complete a Saving and Spending Checkup using Fidelity's calculator, so you can get a high-level view of your spending and see where you might cut expenses so you can put more money toward your goals and save for the future. Learn more about the 50/15/5 saving and spending approach.
  2. Create your budget using Fidelity's "Create your Budget" worksheet (PDF). Also check out the article "7 steps to learn how to budget" for helpful information about how to budget for the first time and keep going month-to-month.
  3. When you've created your budget, stick to it! Review your budget quarterly and continue to look for ways to cut expenses, since little changes add up over time.
  4. If you have many types of debt, or debt that's spread across many lenders, this article on how to prioritize debt can give you tips for tackling it.


Need additional information or support? Consider accessing the Fidelity Managing my Money webinar.


Pay down debt

Creating a monthly budget can help you stay on track and avoid excess spending, but depending on your schedule and goals, it can also be helpful to outline your weekly or annual spending. To move toward creating a budget that works for you, follow the steps below:

  1. Understand and assess your debt, and learn methods for paying it off. Visit the Fidelity Learning Center and review the resources for managing debt.
  2. If you have student debt, access the Fidelity Student Debt Tool to see if there's a better way to pay off your loans.
  3. Research suggests individuals with a higher debt-to-asset-ratio have higher perceived stress and depression. If you're experiencing stress, the Employee Assistance Program is available to support you.

Save for an emergency

If you are just beginning to save, experts typically recommend the first thing you save for is an emergency fund. Any savings can help you stay afloat in an emergency, but having enough to cover three to six months of your expenses can keep you financially well in moments of distress.

  1. Determine how to meet your savings goals in case of an emergency with the FDIC My Emergency Savings Fund Plan tool or the CashCourse emergency savings worksheet.
  2. Work your emergency savings into your budget. The pay down debt section above has tips for helping you adjust your expenses.
  3. To help prevent medical emergencies, and with them emergency expenses, keep up on preventive care. University insurance plans include preventive care at no out-of-pocket expense. 
    • If you have a high-deductible health plan, an HSA can also be a useful savings vehicle to help cover medical expenses.
  4. Consider placing your emergency funds in savings vehicles that you can access quickly but can provide a return on investment.

Care for a dependent

Finding great care options for your child or elderly loved one can be time consuming, and that care can often be a large portion of your monthly expenses. Help manage or reduce the cost of care for your dependents using the resources below:  

  1. Consider using a Dependent Care FSA to reduce your taxable income and save pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket child and/or eldercare dependent expenses.
  2. Think about if a compressed workweek or flexible work hours might help you keep the cost of child or elder care more manageable. If so, chat with your supervisor about your options.

Save for retirement

Planning for retirement means establishing a lasting financial plan so you can build the future you want. Start saving for retirement or check in on your overall strategy with the resources below:

  1. Visit the Financial Wellness: Events and Education webpage for additional retirement planning resources from Fidelity.
  2. If your core retirement plan has a defined benefit component (i.e., pension), use the Pension Benefits Portal to review your personal retirement plan data and estimate your pension benefits at retirement based on the information on file with the university.
  3. Access books on retirement planning, saving and spending in Percipio.
  4. One-on-one support and guidance is available as you navigate your retirement options:

For additional information on the plans available to you or your own retirement savings, explore the Fidelity's UM System retirement webpage or attend a retirement seminar to learn more about retirement planning.


Invest for your future

Saving and investing often go hand-in-hand, but it's important to understand the basics of investing so you understand the best way to put your savings to work. Learn more with the resources below:

  1. Fidelity's personalized planning and advice can help with the first step: building a portfolio that’s right for your situation.
  2. Book a one-on-one consultation with a Fidelity representative who can help you understand your investment options and evaluate the benefits of each.
  3. If you have an HSA, you can grow your health savings by choosing to invest your balance, or part of your balance. Check out Optum's options to invest your HSA funds for additional information.
  4. Build your investing knowledge by reading the available books in Percipio

If you're new to investing or are interested in learning about investing topics like market volatility or socially responsible investing, access Fidelity's investing webpage.

Step 3: Get help when you need it.

Visit the links featured in the boxes on this page to be directed to the particular financial wellness resource that works for you. Or, reach out to any of the representatives below:

  • For general questions, or to learn about the resources available to you, contact the HR Service Center.
  • For information on your voluntary retirement savings options, or for financial consultation, reach out to Fidelity.


Reviewed 2024-06-11


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