Being financially smart in the New Year

1. What kind of goals should we be making?
• Start with looking back at how 2017 was – did you have a budget? Did it work? Then look at 2018. What expenses will you have in the New Year? Make it a priority to have a budget AND track expenses this year.
• Challenge yourself to save in 2018. Set a personal savings goal for the year. Look at how much you’re making, what your expenses are, and determine how much you could realistically save each month.
• Also, it’s important to have an emergency fund in case of a job loss or illness. Put that money in a separate savings account that you only touch in the event of an emergency. You want to have at least three months’ worth of expenses saved in that fund.

2. Another resolution for some might be putting more money towards retirement. What should we be doing?
• Perhaps you can increase the contribution to your 401K retirement plan.
• Take advantage of “free money” with your employer match program, if they have one.
• You might consider the possible benefits of investing in a Roth IRA too. I encourage people to consult with a tax or financial professional for their unique circumstances.

3. Many of us over-spent during the holidays. What advice do you have for people wanting to get rid of credit card debt in 2018?
• The first step is to organize your debt. Then it’s important to make a plan to start paying it off. Try and pay off the card with the smallest balance first. By doing that, you will be able to eliminate carrying a balance on one card and that will give you a feeling of accomplishment to keep paying down your other debts. Of course, it’s important to pay the minimum balance on all other credit cards while putting the majority towards the smallest balance.