Exercising, eating healthy, traveling, and ridding ourselves of bad habits are all common New Year’s resolutions. What’s missing? That’s right, finances. Year after year, we hope to do better with our money. This is great, as it should be among our top priorities.
Getting our finances in order, however, may be a bit of a challenge; we may not know where to begin. To help, here are 10 key suggestions to serve as your guide. All you have to do is use the energy of the New Year to fuel your journey to a bright financial future. Let’s make 2017 the year we turn hope into action.
10 Money Goals to Build Your Future
1. Have 6-12 months of emergency savings. Give yourself something to fall back on for unforeseen situations like medical emergencies, car repairs, or undesirable changes in work hours or employment. Need help? Read How to Build a $1,000 Emergency Fund in 10 months to get started.
2. Create a budget and stick to it. Know where your money is going. Track your spending for a month and use the results as a guide. Eliminate unnecessary expenditures, set a savings goal, and follow through. Why Should You Care About Budgeting? Find out.
3. Build good credit. Establishing credit is important for everyone. Good credit will help you get approved and help you save by securing better rates. Learn all about Credit Reports and Improving Your Score.
4. Contribute to your retirement plan. The earlier you save, the more time your money has to earn compound interest and the less obligated you are to save in the future. Compare IRAs today.
5. Have insurance. Life insurance assures us our family members will not bear the cost of our passing. In addition, it can help secure your family’s future. Lucky for us, TruStage offers discounted rates to credit union members.
6. Pay off debt. Save on interest by Cleaning Up Your Debt. When you rid yourself of a payment, redirect funds to other debt if applicable or to your savings or retirement account, where it earns dividends.
7. Take advantage of employer match programs. Some employers will partially match contributions to health savings accounts and retirement accounts (like 401ks). This is free money for two very important causes.
8. Live within your means. Spend less than you make. Taking on additional debt to finance your lifestyle is not wise. Sounds simple enough, right?
9. Be a smart shopper. Shop around; the internet is a great tool for comparing prices and ensuring you are getting the most value for your money. Be careful with Savings that Cost You though.
10. Cut costs wherever possible. Evaluate your spending. Can you downgrade or eliminate an expense? For example, eliminating cable can save you hundreds of dollars a year.