Make it a great 2013 by planning, and achieving, your financial goals.
January 9, 2013
We've probably all made a New Year's resolution at some point, whether it was to lose weight, quit smoking, or to make some other effort to improve ourselves. This year, try to make some financial resolutions—things to promise yourself to carry out in 2013 in order to improve your finances. And the following are just a few you could make:
- Reduce debt—Using credit might be a necessary evil in today's economy, but there's no reason to keep piling it up. Instead, reduce it by paying extra on your credit cards, buying as many things as you can without financing, and even getting a debt consolidation loan if it's simply overwhelming.
- Build savings—From car repairs to a crashed computer, financial emergencies happen. Be prepared by creating an emergency savings account that has $500 to six months take home pay. Maybe even set a goal of, say, $1,200 by year-end ($100 saved each month). Also see about increasing contributions to your retirement account—or setting one up if you haven't already.
- Repair and monitor credit—Make sure to get your once-a-year free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, and stay on top of it as the year progresses. If your credit needs some help, make this the year to repair your credit and get back on track.
- Protect your identity—Most identity theft happens offline, not via computer or the Internet. So make sure to shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data, and safely (and securely) dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data. Also keep tabs on your bank and credit accounts to watch for suspicious activity.
- Keep your computer safe—Just because most ID theft happens offline doesn't mean you can surf the web worry free. Make sure you keep anti-virus software and your operating system updated, and never ever open an attachment or link sent from someone you don't know.
- Do your research—A great way to avoid a financial disaster is to check up on any company with which you do business, including those online. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to see about complaints, or use a site like Angie's List to get reviews (although keep in mind that it costs money to register). For online companies, find out in what state they are incorporated and check the BBBs or even attorneys general for that area.
So what are your financial resolutions for 2013? Please share in the comment section below.