What’s on your New Year’s resolutions list for 2017? As the new year comes to a close, many people make promises to themselves about doing things better than they did last year. In addition to the obligatory ‘eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, don’t eat out so much’ lists, have you considered adding a financial resolution to your list?
By reviewing your needs and goals, you can identify some resolutions that are particularly relevant to your own situation. But here are a few suggestions:
- Build an emergency fund. If you needed a major car repair or a new furnace, or faced some other large, unanticipated expense, could you cope with it? If you didn’t have the money readily available, you might have to dip into those investments intended for long-term goals, such as retirement. Instead, build an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, kept in a liquid, low-risk account.
- Cut down on debts. It’s not easy to cut down on one’s debt load. But if you can find ways to reduce your debts, you’ll help improve your overall financial picture. Many debts are not “useful” – that is, they don’t carry any tax advantages – so every dollar you spend to pay down those debts is a dollar you could use to invest for your future.
- Save for Retirement. If you have an employer sponsored retirement plan, saving for retirement is more straightforward. Just make sure you’re enrolled and contribute enough to the account to get the full employer match possible. If you don’t have an employee sponsored plan, don’t let that hold you back from saving for retirement. Make 2017 the year that you open your own retirement account, like an IRA or Roth IRA, and start contributing to it. Keep this in mind: You’re not investing for today or tomorrow, but for many years from now. Try to keep a long-term focus when making all your key investment decisions. Set a retirement goal and check your progress each year.
- Improve Credit. Having good credit is an important sign of financial health and an added layer of security. Checking your credit score regularly can also help you work towards improving your credit and keeping you motivated as you see your efforts pay off.
- Create/review your estate plan. If you don’t have an estate plan, make this the year for it. At the very least, set up a will and complete an advance healthcare directive. Review beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and insurance policies – especially if you’ve had a life change such as a new baby, marriage or divorce.
Let our banking experts help keep all of your New Year’s financial resolutions and accomplish those financial goals. Stop by one of our 13 central Ohio locations and let us help you ‘burn off’ some of those ‘extra pounds’ of debt!