Nail Your 2017 Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Nonprofit credit counseling agency Take Charge America offers eight
tips for making – and keeping – New Year’s financial resolutions

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The New Year has become an opportunity to commit to new goals and
rekindle hope. In fact, 40 to 50 percent of New Year’s revelers raise a
toast to living better, healthier lives. Yet despite their optimism on
Jan. 1, the majority end up missing their marks.

“Many of us come out of the gate raring to go, but our enthusiasm
quickly dies because our goals are too lofty or because we haven’t
established any sort of plan,” said Mike Sullivan, a personal finance
consultant for Take Charge America, national
nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency
. “You’re more
likely to stick with your resolutions if you focus on bite-sized goals,
build a solid plan to achieve them, and celebrate each milestone.”

Sullivan offers eight tips on making and keeping financial New Year’s
resolutions:

  1. Review the past year: Start with a review of your current
    financial state. Did you earn more? Did you save more? Do you owe
    less? If so, take some time to celebrate. If you didn’t, ask for help.
    Talk with a financial advisor or credit counselor and explain your
    goals.
  2. Make a budget: It’s an oldie but a goodie – and it’s at the top
    of every financial to-do list because it works. Take inventory of your
    income and spending to get a sense of necessary expenses,
    discretionary funds and potential savings. Putting pen to paper also
    will open your eyes to any worrisome spending habits and help you make
    smarter decisions in the future.
  3. Automate and simplify: Take advantage of your bank’s bill pay
    feature to automate recurring payments like your mortgage, insurance,
    cable, utilities and even savings. In addition to saving you time each
    month, setting up auto payments helps you avoid late fees.
  4. Organize your finances: The New Year is a perfect time to get
    your financial life in order. Establish a process and system for
    paying bills, review your credit report for accuracy, research
    financial software, set up auto deposits and shred old documents and
    receipts. This is also an ideal time to gather and organize your tax
    information for 2016.
  5. Save for emergencies: If you don’t yet have an emergency fund,
    now is the time to build one. Aim to save enough money to cover three
    to six month’s expenses, but break this big goal down into smaller
    milestones – and celebrate each time you reach one.
  6. Pay down debt: This may seem overwhelming, especially if you
    have multiple credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc. Start by
    tackling the debt with the biggest interest rate, and move down the
    list from there. If needed, enlist the help of a nonprofit credit
    counseling or student loan counseling agency for one-on-one guidance,
    an action plan and assistance negotiating with creditors.
  7. Save for retirement: This is critically important to your
    financial health, but far too few people are focused on saving for
    their golden years. If you haven’t already done so, evaluate
    employer-sponsored retirement savings plans, or talk to a financial
    advisor about individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Commit to saving
    every month – even if it’s a small amount – and work to increase your
    contribution over time.
  8. Make it a family affair: Don’t go it alone! Enlist the help of
    family and friends to help you stay focused on your financial goals
    and priorities. You can also aim to teach your kids a new financial
    lesson each month, or create savings goals as family.

For more tips on financial resources, credit counseling and student loan
repayment, visit Take
Charge America
.

About Take Charge America, Inc.

Founded in 1987, Take Charge America, Inc. is a nonprofit agency
offering financial education and counseling services including credit
counseling, debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling
and bankruptcy counseling. It has helped more than 1.6 million consumers
nationwide manage their personal finances and debts. To learn more,
visit www.takechargeamerica.org
or call (888) 822-9193.

Contacts

Aker Ink
Andrea Aker, 602-339-7339
andrea.aker@akerink.com