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Financial Fitness For Your New Year

With the New Year comes New Year Resolutions: to eat healthier, be more responsible, spend more time with family, the list goes on. But have you ever thought about focusing on your financial fitness? At a time when we want to focus on healthier bodies, we should also focus on healthier bank accounts and personal financial strategies. Here are four simple ways to improve your finances this year:

1.) Be prepared. In a time of trauma, could you locate your trust, will, mortgage statements or insurance policies? Start the New Year by being prepared. Make sure you have the right documents in the right places. We suggest keeping original documents in a safety deposit box along with copies of your driver's licenses and some cash. Here are the documents you may want to collect:

  • Birth certificates, marriage license, death certificates, trust and will documents

  • Credit cards

  • Driver's licenses

  • Insurance policies

  • Mortgage/house deeds or statements

  • Bank statements

It's also a good idea to keep copies of these documents, including insurance policies and extra cash, in an emergency kit.

Pay down debt, but don't forget about you! Be wise with any bonus check, tax refund or holiday money you have received this year. Pay down your debt starting with the highest interest rate. Set a monthly amount to pay and if that number is right, you'll be paying off your debt right on schedule! We also recognize that you've worked hard and want to treat yourself; we get it! Set a little aside to splurge while putting the rest away.

3.) Create a teaching moment for your kids. Did your children or grandchildren receive holiday money for Christmas? This is a great time to start talking to them about their own financial future, especially if they are at that age where they are starting to explore the world on their own. Use this time to discuss saving and spending, and consider opening a savings account for them.

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checking and savings account options for any of your financial needs!

4.) Tune-up your finances. Set yourself up for success by actually doing the "I'll do this tomorrow" things you've been saying for months:
  • Start a rainy day fund; this way, you can't be tempted to spend money you never see and you save a bit of money in case of a disaster.

  • Make sure to check your bank and credit card accounts regularly for any suspicious activity. Data breaches are more frequent these days; download your mobile banking app and set up balance alerts to catch any unauthorized withdrawals from your accounts.

  • Does your company offer a 401(k)? If so, make sure you contribute enough to get the full amount of your company's match. This is essentially free money!

With these tips in mind, what are your financial goals for the New Year?

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