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Worrying about money is natural. Almost everyone’s done it at some point. But worrying also could be a sign that there are serious problems you’re avoiding — a persistent little reminder that these problems are not going away. So if you’re finding yourself stressed about money this holiday season, there are a few ways to help you get your finances under control.

1. Start an emergency fund. When you get your paycheck, do not immediately think about how you’ll spend it. Put a small amount it in a savings account for emergency use only, then add to it every month. The goal is to be able to cover three months of expenses. Knowing you have a few bucks in a savings account is huge! For even more security, add to it with another income stream. It doesn’t have to be a second job—sell your old stuff online or monetize a hobby, like freelance writing or photographing.

2. Open a personal retirement account. You can open an IRA. Another option is a 401(k). If your company offers a matching program for your 401(k), take advantage of it! Contribute the minimum to get your employer to kick in the same. You’ll be amazed at how that money will grow over time.

3. Meet with a financial adviser. So you don’t have to tackle your problems alone. You have a team of professionals right here at Ascentra Credit Union who can—and really want—to help you. We can sit down with you, look at your financials, and help you develop an action plan. We even offer financial education to help you manage your money better.

Do these three things—build up your savings, open a retirement account, and have a financial adviser take a look at your whole financial picture —and you’ll be worry-free in no time.

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