Starting the New Year Off Right

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.  Even if it is only a small amount each month or week.

Track your spending – You need to know where your money is going. Break your expenses down into categories—utilities, insurance, entertainment, and clothing.  This will help you see where you might be able to cut back.

Set short- and long-term financial goals – You’re more inclined to save if you have specific goals.  And, write them down. Then determine how much money you’ll need to save each month to reach them

Pay yourself first – Create a regular savings plan. Set up direct deposit from your paycheck into a savings account. You won’t miss money you never see.

Enroll in automatic payment for bills.  You’ll avoid missed payments, late fees and negative marks on your credit score.

Work toward being/staying—debt-free.  Start by paying down high-interest credit-cards and non–tax-deductible debt.

Boost retirement savings – Try to max out your employer-sponsored 401(k) or SEP plan this year. If you don’t have a retirement plan at work, fund a traditional IRA/Roth IRA w/contributions made automatically from your checking/savings account.

Review all of your insurance policies -Are the limits adequate? Should the deductibles be raised? Is there a similar less expensive policy? Are you taking advantage of all the discounts?

Check your credit report – Get a free copy of your credit report from annualcreditreport.com.  

Make (or update) your will.  This ensures that your personal belongings, assets, and investments go to the beneficiaries you choose.

Ramp up your emergency fund – Aim to sock away 6 to 12 months’ worth of living expenses so that in the event of an emergency, you won’t have to sell assets or rely on credit cards.