If you have just been granted permanent resident status in the United States, you’ve hit a milestone. Living in the U.S. is an exciting and daunting task, especially where your financial life is concerned, but there are many ways to navigate these waters much easier. Here are some financial pointers you want to take note of as you begin this new chapter.
Maintain a good credit score
The credit score is critical to the financial life of a U.S. American—it’s just the nature of the beast. While it’s an important factor for many economies globally, no one takes the credit score as seriously as the U.S.
Your credit score will help influence what kinds of purchasing benefits will be afforded to you, it will follow you for the rest of your life, and it can influence every financial decision you make moving forward. Here are some tips for maintaining a decent credit score, if not a good one:
- Keep your balances as low as possible at all times.
- Make sure all your bills are paid on time.
- Keep your debt at a manageable level.
- Limit your credit inquiries. Only apply for new credit when you truly need it.
- Stay up to the minute on your credit report. There are plenty of apps and platforms you can use to stay updated on how your credit score is doing.
Stay informed about immigration laws
Even if you are in the U.S. legally, you would still benefit greatly from being informed about immigration laws. You never know when there’s a new change that might affect your green card or visa. Stay on the right side of the law, especially when it comes to money matters, and make sure you always have access to good legal counsel, just in case. It would also be advantageous to learn the ins and outs of U.S. immigration bail bonds and know that you always have a plan in case of an emergency.
Apply for a spending account
A spending account will help make your financial life run smoother because you would have a single place to keep your cash while you conduct daily transactions. Online banks, in particular, usually don’t charge monthly fees and tend to offer higher interest rates for savings and deposits, so you would have one place to keep all your cash, all while increasing it in value, too.
Map out your financial goals for at least the next six months
Moving to a new place is difficult, let alone completely uprooting your entire life and taking it to a new country. You will have plenty of expenses to take into account, such as transportation, moving costs, and security deposits for a new place to live.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, map out the next six months of your life. Let the months beyond that worry about themselves. Trust that you will have adjusted by then, and you would have more financial and mental resources to plan for the long haul. Focus on getting a feel for the economy and establishing good financial footing first; get settled for the first half of the year first before making big plans, like buying a house or starting a business.
Keep every financial transaction on file
Whenever you sign anything that involves your finances, make sure to keep your copies on file, both physical and digital. Put everything in order, invest in some folders and label makers, and keep the files in a fireproof box for storing. Arrange it so that it’s easy for you to find whatever you’re looking for as quickly as possible. This is because if you ever find yourself in a bind or some form of a lawsuit, you need to be ready with your documents to help prove your innocence.
And don’t just sign everything! Read the fine print before you place your signature on anything, and ask for help from trusted friends or family members, or even a lawyer—especially if the transaction involves a huge amount of money. Take your time going over everything because you can always return to a financial deal, but you cannot take back your signature.
Starting all over again in a new place can be a scary prospect, but not if you have the guidance that you need. Do your research, ask for help from trusted friends and family, work hard, understand the law so that everything you do is above board, and don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially if your finances are on the line. You will reach a point of stability soon enough. Good luck!