It's a New Year, a clean slate. It's the time of year when we evaluate where we've been in life and the direction we want to take for a successful future. It's the time to make lists and compile resolutions. We resolve to improve our minds and our bodies, but sometimes forget about our financial well-being. Most of us could stand a little improvement, like saving more, planning for retirement or improving a credit score. So this year, as you take stock and make your plan for the rest of the year, be sure your list includes some smart money goals. Here are our top three financial resolutions for 2017 and some great ways to help make them happen.
1. Save, Save, Save
We recently came across a startling statistic that the majority of American households don't have much or any money in savings. In fact, 60% reported a balance of $1,000 or less in savings and 30% didn't have any money set aside. Well, it's an easy fix if you adopt the right mentality. The first rule of smart money management is to always Pay Yourself First. This means taking a small amount of money and regularly putting it aside for a rainy day. Start with a small emergency fund and when that gets full, set up another savings account. You can stair-step your way to bigger savings with a little discipline and planning. Learn how to automatically transfer money each payday from checking to savings. It's easy and you just set it once and forget it. Start today and your rainy day fund will be ready when you need it.
2. Get a Credit Checkup
You go to the doctor, right? You step on the scale, yes? Well, then just apply that logic to your credit score. You can receive a free copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com and creditkarma.com also offers a free and easy way to check your score. Another great resource is WalletHub, which offers free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis. For better or worse, a credit score can have a tremendous impact on your life, including employment opportunities, interest rates and housing. Get a handle on your score and visit our site for some tips on improving your score.
3. Set Your Long-Term Goals
Checking your credit score and bolstering your savings are some great ways to kick off the year, but you should also take time to sit down with your family or spouse and map out some long term financial goals. Have you thought about when you'd like to retire and how much money you'll need to live the lifestyle you envision? Do you want to set aside money for a downpayment on a house? Have you started a college fund for your children? By determining your long term dreams now, you can begin to work toward achieving them. Outline your strategy and commit to making positive financial decisions this year and every year.
Share your favorite money smart resolutions in the comments!
Good luck and have a great year. Remember, we are always here if you have questions about improving your credit, exploring savings options or learning more about credit union products and services that can help save you money!
Posted on Thu, January 5, 2017
by Kara Barrett