We start the New Year with good intentions, but by the spring, many of our resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Fortunately it’s not too late to start getting yourself pointed in the right direction financially. “Just as you would embark on an exercise program to lose weight and get physically fit, there are simple steps you can take that will lead to being financially healthy and fit,” says financial planner Rick Rogers. Here are a few of Rogers’ tips for improving your financial life.
Review your credit report.
Your credit score can have a profound effect on the amount you pay for auto and homeowners insurance—and perhaps on life and health insurance in the not-too-distant future. Order your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Set up an automatic savings plan.
If your employer doesn’t offer this through payroll deduction, set one up through your bank or brokerage account. Simply have a certain amount of money withdrawn from your checking or savings account each month and deposited into your investment account. That way, you save it before you have a chance to spend it.
Establish a cash flow plan.
Business owners know you can’t control what you don’t track. Take the time to forecast your income and expenses for the year, and put it in writing. Then adjust those numbers to reach your goals, such as paying down debt. Pay off your credit cards. If you’re sitting on any extra savings, consider using it to pay down credit card debt. Your cash flow plan should include a schedule to eliminate credit card debt as quickly as possible.
Meet with a financial advisor.
Allow yourself to be held accountable by a third party who will push you to help yourself. Good advisers will help you develop a budget, look at your debts, tax situation, retirement savings, estate planning, and insurance. Go to the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors to search for one in the Burlington area.