New Year's Resolutions

Top 10 Smart Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Here are 10 New Year’s Resolutions to add to your list:

Eliminate credit card debt.  

Answer this question: Do you really want to be in debt year after year and living paycheck to paycheck? If you said “No,” then it’s time to get serious about managing your money and getting rid of excessive debt. You can do it – but you must have an action plan and you must stick to it.

Slowly set aside 3 months’ savings.  

If an emergency happens – from a job loss to a car breakdown – your savings cushion will protect you from resorting to credit cards. Get free wealth-building tips and pointers on how to save more at www.AmericaSaves.org.

Prepare your taxes early. 

Get any tax form you need from the IRS at www.IRS.gov and file your taxes ASAP. You’ll avoid the procrastination and stress, as well as the hassles and long lines, at the Post Office on April 15th. Early filers also get faster refunds.

Make a financial plan. 

Start writing out your financial goals and what it will take to achieve them. Get help from the Financial Planning Association (www.FPAnet.org).

Create or update your will. 

Nobody likes to think about his or her own death. But you can’t ignore reality. Look at the Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 or the unfortunate, 150,000+ victims killed by the Tsunami that spread across Asia and Africa. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Fund a retirement plan. 

If you have a 401(k) or 403(b) plan at work, start contributing, or increase your contribution. Learn all about 401(k) plans at www.401k.org. No 401(k) plan or you’re not eligible for it? Then open an Individual Retirement Account.

Ask for a raise.  

List the ways you’ve contributed to your company’s prosperity or your department’s well being, and approach your boss for a raise.  If you work for yourself, give yourself a raise by raising your prices or offering higher-end products and services.

Get proper insurance. 

Get life insurance worth 5 to 10 times your salary, and adequate coverage for your valuables and property – home, car, etc. – too. If something goes wrong, you and your family will be so glad you did.

Share your knowledge.

Mentor a young person, teach your children about “wants” vs. “needs,” or tell a friend about some smart financial tips you have learned.

Improve your financial record-keeping. 

Get your paperwork in order, and keep good records all year round. This will save money in the long run and reduce your aggravation come tax time. Try the free online budgeting and record-keeping tools at www.mint.com.

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