A new year. New resolutions. Here are five ideas to consider to help improve your financial health in the upcoming year.
Save more for retirement. Plan for the future by feathering your retirement nest egg. For instance, you can contribute up to $20,500 to a 401(k) account in 2022, plus another $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older. Plus, your company may provide matching contributions up to a stated percentage of compensation. And you can supplement this account with contributions to IRAs and/or other qualified plans.
Update your estate plan. Now is a good time to review your will and make any necessary adjustments. For example, your will may need to be updated due to births, deaths, marriages or divorces in the family or other changes in your personal circumstances. Also review trust documents, powers of attorney (POAs) and healthcare directives or create new ones to facilitate your estate plan.
Rebalance your portfolio. Due to the volatility of equity markets, it’s easy for a portfolio to lose balance against your investment objectives. To bring things back to where you want, review your investments periodically and reallocate funds to reflect your main objectives, risk tolerance, and other personal preferences. This will put you in a better position to handle the ups and downs of the markets.
Review, consolidate, and lower debt levels. One sure-fire method for improving your financial health is to spend less and save more. Start by chipping away at any existing debts. This may mean giving up some luxuries, but it’s generally well worth it in the long run. Pay extra attention to debts with high interest charges like credit card debt. If possible, consider consolidating several of these debts into one or two obligations if you can lower your interest rate in the process.
Contingency planning. No one can foresee every twist and turn that 2022 will take. To avoid potential financial hardship, look to improve your emergency fund by setting aside enough funds to pay for six months or more of your expenses in case of events like a job loss or a severe health issue.
As summer vacation season begins, please take a moment to review Traveler Safety Tips provided for those who stay in hotels and public lodging. These tips are provided courtesy of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Be safe out there!
Don’t answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from their staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose.
Keep your room key with you at all times and don’t needlessly display it in public. Should you misplace it, please notify the front desk immediately.
Close the door securely whenever you are in your room and use all of the locking devices provided.
Check to see that any sliding glass doors or windows and any connecting room doors are locked.
Don’t invite strangers to your room.
Be aware of potential phone scams and prank calls to your guestroom. Hotel employees will never request credit card or personal information over the phone, nor will they advise a guest to damage hotel property.
Place all valuables in the hotel or motel’s safe deposit box.
When returning to your hotel or motel late in the evenings, be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lighted areas, and use the main entrance.
Take a few moments and locate the nearest exit that may be used in the event of an emergency.
If you see any suspicious activity, notify the hotel operator or a staff member.
Most everyone knows you need to budget, balance and save. However, here’s a list of the ten steps to ensure you walk on stable financial ground.
Set a budget and stick to it – Make financial goals and then create a budget that supports those goals. Account for expenses on a monthly basis and set budget limits for dinner out and other forms of entertainment.
Pay off all debt (except a home mortgage) – Make debt payments a part of your budget until paid off.
Set aside money for future expenses – Plan in advance for both short- and long-term big expenses and create a line item for them in your monthly budget.
Save for emergencies – Set aside funds each month to build a reserve of three months living expenses (eventually build up to six) to guard against job loss or unexpected expenses. Having these savings automatically deducted you’re your income makes it easier.
Take advantage of available plans – Company-sponsored 401(k) plans and/or other retirement plans, 529 savings plans and education funds will help you financially later. A little put away today can mean a lot is available tomorrow.
Spend only what you have – Limit uses of credit vehicles like credit cards and high interest cash advances. Pay off credit cards by due dates each month.
Manage your financial life – Regularly manage and monitor your accounts and statements, including balancing your debit/checking account and investment accounts.
Keep an eye on your credit score – Making timely payments is one of the best ways to maintain good credit for future lending. If used responsibly, automatic payment systems like online banking can be beneficial.
Set up Identity Theft Protection on your financial accounts – Regularly change your online and mobile passwords, and safeguard your financial statements.
Openly communicate with your spouse about your family’s financial position – Make sure you both agree on short- and long-term goals. Teach your children the power of saving and budgeting to put them on the path to a successful financial future.