Financial Friday: Money goals for the new year

It’s not too late to set some major new year money goals.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:51 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s not too late to set some major new year money goals. This is a great time to sit down and look at all of your accounts and assess your financial fitness.

WAFF talked to financial expert, Patricia Lloyd with Redstone Federal Credit Union. She offered up a checklist of steps to take now to set yourself up for financial success.

  1. Track your spending: Whether you use an app or online money management platform (such as your online banking app, Quicken or Mint), you need to know where your money is going.
  2. Review your credit card and debit card statements: We’ve just come off a busy holiday season. Have you made many purchases with credit or debit cards? Check those statements. Ensure those expenses are accurate and keep your receipts if you need to return some items. This can help you keep better track of your spending and help you see the bigger picture.
  3. Set short- and long-term financial goals: For example, if you can’t pay off your credit card debt from the holidays this month – make a plan to do that as quickly as possible. We know that interest rates have increased which means your costs of borrowing money have increased. Keep your financial goals reasonable, and you’re more likely to achieve them.
  4. Pay yourself first: Create a regular savings plan. Set up direct deposit from your paycheck into a savings account—you won’t miss money you never see. Also, when possible, build up your emergency fund.
  5. Enroll in automatic bill pay: Life Happens! No worries. You’ll avoid costly missed payments, late fees, and negative marks on your credit score by setting up automatic bill pay.
  6. Boost retirement savings: If you can’t afford to max out your employer-sponsored 401(k) or SEP plan this year, try to contribute enough to receive the full company match. If you don’t have a retirement plan at work, fund a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA and arrange for contributions to be made automatically from your checking or savings account.