New year, new you.
Sorry, we had to say it. But in all seriousness, a new year is a great opportunity to take a look at your finances and reevaluate how you spend, save and think about money.
Here are seven goals you should set for yourself to have a more financially healthy 2019.
Life is filled with financial goals — a new car, a house, an expanded family— as well as financial emergencies, like a broken furnace or an unexpected medical bill. This year, resolve to stock up on savings, both for you and for emergencies.
Speak to your local bank about opening a savings account that works with your unique financial situation. A Mountain America Credit Union traditional savings account, for example, can help you create a cash reserve to cover unexpected expenses or pay for planned expenses. It helps your money grows safely, building dividends until you need it.
Pay off That Debt
In order to make the most of your money, you should aim to reduce your debt as much as possible.
“When setting financial goals, start by taking a look at your debts.” says Tony Rasmussen, VP financial education at Mountain America Credit Union. “Implementing a debt pay-off plan will free up money being spent on monthly loan payments and allow you to save for retirement and other financial goals. Reducing debt can also help improve your credit score, and in turn, save you money through lower interest rates.”
If you have debt, make it your number one goal to eliminate it so you can meet your other financial goals.
There are a few different ways to pay off debt, like the snowball method, balance transfers, and more. It’s not always easy to pay off debt, but it is always worth it.
Plan for Retirement
Regardless of your age, retirement is a long term goal most people think about but don’t really work toward. In fact, a recent survey found that more than half of Americans age 22 to 74 think about retirement at least four times per week, but that the average $610,000 that survey respondents think they’d need for an ideal retirement falls far short of the commonly recommended $1 million minimum.
Buck that standard by aiming to put a little bit more of your bi-weekly income into a 401(k) or Roth IRA this year, then a little more next year, and so on.
Create More Income
Creating more income for yourself can sound intimidating. After all, you work hard — why get another job? In today’s world, however, it’s become easier than ever to profit off one of your passions or talents without putting all your effort into it.
Consider selling your art, driving for Lyft, performing household tasks or anything else to make a little extra income this year.
Improve Your Credit Score
Your FICO Score is a crucial part of your financial well-being. Improving it would be a smart, reasonable and not-as-challenging-as-you-might-think goal for 2019.
Start by checking — and cleaning up — your credit reports. Then, increase your credit utilization ratio by upping your spending limits, paying off old debts and opening a new account. Lastly, make your payments on time and, if possible, try to pay twice a month.
Keep Better Records
Get a better grasp of your finances by resolving to keep better records in 2019. By writing down your income and expenses, you can get a better idea of your monetary successes, failures and where you improve. It also makes creating a budget and paying your taxes much easier.