No matter what stage of life you are in, financial planning is always essential. Managing money can be frustrating, especially when you don’t keep track of spending or set an annual budget. Instead of repeating bad habits from last year, make 2017 a year of financial goal-setting and growth. Whether you want to quickly get out of debt, save an emergency fund, invest in an IRA, or save for a new car, these tips for financial planning in 2017 can help you meet those goals.
The Process of Setting Financial Goals in 2017
Setting goals to manage your money may not sound like fun, but taking the time to organize a budget, committing to saving, and investing your money, will give you financial stability and reduce a lot of stress. Are you planning to buy your child dental braces? Do you need to purchase winter tires? Are you going on a family vacation this summer? Are you a few decades ahead of retirement? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, there’s no time like the present to start making those goals a possibility. The following tips are tested and true to helping you move forward in a new year of financial success.
Plan Your Annual Budget
There are many digital tools available to help you budget for 2017, such as the Mint app. Get creative and find ways to manage your earnings, spending, and savings. If you’re not a fan of modern technology, simply create a spreadsheet and list your expenses along with your net income to give yourself an idea of where your money is going. Find ways to cut back on non-necessities and you won’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.
Plan to Pay off Your Debt and Improve Your Credit
One of the most important tips for financial planning is to get out of debt. Debt, whether from a loan or credit card spending, ties you down and prevents you from having freedom with your money. Make it a goal to eliminate smaller debts and set biweekly or monthly payments to gradually work on your larger debts. Hanging onto debts also loses you money due to high interest rates. If possible, try to eliminate debt sooner than later. As you clear your debts and make frequent payments, you will benefit from an improved credit score.
Increase Your Savings
A great way to increase your savings in 2017 is to automate your savings. It only takes a few minutes to open a separate supplemental savings account at your local bank or credit union. Once you have set saving goals for emergencies, a family vacation, home renovation, or benevolence, set up monthly transfers from your checking account to each of your individual savings accounts. This process, also known as “paying yourself first,” is helpful of you tend to pay bills and spend the rest of your money on non-necessities. Make the most of your savings this year by removing the temptation to spend your leftover money!
Save an Emergency Fund
If you want financial security in case of challenging circumstances in 2017, having an emergency fund can give you peace of mind. Set aside $1,000 in case of an emergency and add to it on a biweekly or monthly basis. Try to discipline yourself not to go back into the account to use it, but if you do, make sure to set a priority to replenish the funds.
Make SMART Investments
Anytime you set goals, remember the SMART rules. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable/action-oriented, realistic, and timely. These key factors will help you tackle more goals, set the bar at a reasonable height, and give you a concrete strategy for success.
Plan for Retirement
Take advantage of a 401(k) retirement savings plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if your employer offers it. Even if you start off small, your investment will grow over time. Many employers also offer matching up to a certain percentage, which means your contribution has the potential to grow even faster.
Use LUSO Federal Credit Union to Help You Meet Your Future Financial Goals
LUSO Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned, financial cooperative dedicated to providing members with quality financial services and products. We at LUSO pride ourselves on serving the financial needs of our members and helping them manage their finances such as credit card debt. Our services and rates are available in Wilbraham, and Ludlow, Massachusetts. Feel free to contact us at 1-(844) 587-6328 to learn how we can help you meet your goals for 2017.