4 Financial Tips for the New Year

December 07 2017

With the end of the year approaching, it's a good time to start planning for the future. What better way to kick off 2018 than to put your finances in order? This task may seem overwhelming at first, so here are four tips to get you started.

1. Take a look back. Make a list of both your earnings in 2017 and your expenses. Having these numbers in front of you will help you form a clearer picture of where your money is going. Can you cut back on any unnecessary costs that are preventing you from reaching your goals?

2. Create a reasonable budget. Once you've figured out how to reduce your spending, make a budget that you'll be able to stick to over the next few months. Keep this plan in a spreadsheet, notebook or online planner. By staying on track, you'll be able to save or invest more money.

3. Check your credit. Staying in the know about your credit score and reviewing your credit report will also help you map out your finances for the new year. If your credit score is already in good shape, borrowing money will be easier when the time comes. If your credit score is below 720, make it a priority to work toward improving it this year.

4. Start saving. It's a good idea to save at least the same amount as your tax rate, which for many people is about 15 percent of their income. Set up automatic deductions from your paycheck and funnel the savings into your 401(k) or other workplace retirement account. You can also transfer a consistent amount into an individual retirement account, such as a Roth IRA.

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