Financial Resolutions for the New Year
By Rachel Seitz
As a general rule, the beginning of a new year often brings with it new habits we want to form. At Climb, we’re all about helping people to navigate the world of finance and learn what habits they can adopt to make sure their own finances are in check. According to Student Loan Hero’s annual New Year’s survey, two-thirds of respondents said they had financial regrets in 2016, and again two-thirds also said they were planning on making financial resolutions for 2017. If you’re thinking you might fall into those categories, we’ve got some ideas for resolutions you can make to help ensure you don’t end 2017 with regrets as well!
Pay off debt
The top resolution cited in response to the Student Loan Hero survey? Paying off debt. It can seem daunting, but there are plenty of strategies out there for getting it under control (even selling the junk currently cluttering your apartment). By taking care of this resolution, you’ll not only better your financial situation but remove a major cause of stress from your life!
Start a Budget
Starting (and sticking to) a budget is a great way to improve your finances in the new year. There are plenty of different types of budgets to choose from, and no one size fits all. You can go with a zero sum budget, a 50-20-30 budget, or any number of other methods. If you think you’ll need help, you can also download a budgeting app to keep track of things!
Pay Bills When They Arrive
It’s so easy to put off paying your bills, but it’s definitely not to your benefit. Sorry procrastinators, but you really should pay your bills as soon as possible to avoid misjudging how much money you have available, or just forgetting to pay it as time passes. Keeping on top of your bills will also help you stick with other financial resolutions, such as following a budget and maintaining your credit score.
Keep Track of Your Credit Score
Despite the importance of keeping track of your credit score, many people nevertheless don’t have a clear idea of what theirs is. Even if you think you have a high score, you still want to make sure there are no mistakes or unknown factors that would adversely affect your credit. Most banks will provide you with your FICO score and credit information via online banking. There are also sites (both free and paid for) through which you can obtain a credit score. Keep in mind, though, that free websites don’t always offer the best, most accurate information. We suggest going through your bank!
Save for Retirement
While paying off debt is important, you don’t want to sacrifice saving in order to do it. Another great financial resolution is making sure you’re also putting enough money away for retirement — the earlier you start, the better! If your employer offers a retirement plan, this resolution is pretty simple to carry out. If not, you’ll want to look into the different types of retirement plans available and see which one is best for you.
The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to start working to fix your finances. Worried you’re one of those people who break their resolutions once February rolls around? Forbes has some tips for strong financial New Year’s resolutions. And even if you break your newly formed habits, that’s OK as long as you get back into it. We all make mistakes, and we can all improve how we handle our money. Happy 2017, and good luck everyone!