How to Get Finances in Order to Start 2017

The end of the year is usually a period a reflection, not just where you are with your life, job, dating, but also where you stand financially.  If you have made poor choices when it comes to spending or a lack of saving, then it is never too late to turn things around.  Putting off any financial responsibilities to the future will never leave you in a good position in retirement.  Even if you are in your mid-thirties it may seem like you have all the time in the world, but think about how quickly it has gone by since you have been out of college.  Take a look at your finances and have a great start to 2017.

Use a Budget

Creating a budget to track all of the money going out and coming in is not entirely difficult, but actually sticking to it is another story.  It can be easy to quickly dismiss if a budget is failing, but it actually will take a few months to tweak it to work.  If you are unwilling to remove any unnecessary spending, or have the wrong amount of funds allocated to each area, you may be doomed from the start.

Don’t Forget About You

A recent study by GOBankingRates found that one-third of Americans have absolutely nothing saved for retirement, with a separate study showing the same amount of us have nothing saved in savings account either.  What that means is that if there are no adjustments made now, you will enter your golden years with a penny to your name.  Start taking advantage of company matched 401(k), or invest in either a traditional IRA or Roth IRA to invest in your future.

Take a Look at Your Credit Score

With so many credit card companies offering your credit score free on monthly statements, there should be no reason you could be in the dark when it comes to your credit.  Once a year the major credit bureaus offer a complete copy of your credit report (without a score) free, so you can review for any inaccuracies, especially if you plan on having your credit pulled for a refinance/purchase loan, where higher interest rates could cost you thousands over the course of the terms.

Put Year-End Bonus to Good Use

Getting a holiday bonus is great and the first instinct may be to blow it on something you have always wanted, but before you go running to the store, make sure it is going to good use.  Any extra money should be first going towards paying off debt and setting up an emergency fund.  Only after that should the money be spent elsewhere.

Gather Up Charitable Donations

It can always be scary to wonder how much you will owe when it comes to filing your tax return, so why not have a little extra coming back being able to write off charitable donations.  Cleaning out your closet, garage, or basement could be great places to donate clothes and other household items to those in need.

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