It’s not too late to make a New Year’s resolution to improve your financial situation in 2017. Here are several tips to follow.
- Get organized. This applies on both a personal and business level. You have a better chance of being successful this year if you approach your finances methodically instead of haphazardly.
- Create a budget. It’s easy to get into financial trouble if you spend more than you earn. Develop a monthly plan for living within your means.
- Obtain a free credit profile report. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com for your report. Check to ensure the data in your credit profile is accurate and dispute any errors by contacting the applicable parties.
- Pay down debt. Start chipping away at your liabilities through a series of regular payments. Investigate whether it makes sense to consolidate outstanding debts at a reasonable interest rate.
- Check your insurance coverage. Don’t assume that the coverage you acquired years ago still provides adequate protection for your family. Dust off those old policies to determine if adjustments are needed. Contact Crescenta Valley Insurance at (800) 231-4619. It will cost you nothing to find out if you can save hundreds of dollars annually and there’s no obligation on your part.
- Diversify your investments. Don’t expect the recent volatility in the financial markets to abate in 2012. Protect yourself against the inherent risks by diversifying within different classes of investments. Contact Trevor Kleineahlbrandt or Michael Hefner, the credit union financial advisor, for a no obligation investment diversification plan.
- Review your asset allocation. If you’ve already developed an asset allocation plan, adjust your portfolio to ensure it is still meeting your objectives. The start of the year is also a good time to tweak the percentages or establish an asset allocation plan for the future. Contact Trevor Kleineahlbrandt or Michael Hefner, the credit union financial advisor, for a no obligation asset allocation plan.
- Get rid of the clutter. Donate items that are in good condition and throw out those that are simply taking up space. You might even be able to take a charitable deduction for your donation.
- Plan ahead for retirement. Take advantage of tax-favored retirement plans such as a 401(k) at work. Both the contributions and earnings are tax-deferred and can compound over time. The 401(k) contribution for 2012 is $17,000 ($22,500 if you’re age 50 or over).
- Save for emergencies. What would happen to your family if you lost your job or could not go to work? Set aside enough in an emergency fund at the credit union to last for several months in a worst-case scenario. If you follow through on your 2012 resolutions, it’s likely you’ll be in better financial shape at the end of the year.
Wesley Walton, CEO, Glendale Area Schools Credit Union