When it comes to the most popular New Year’s traditions, making a resolution ranks right up there with countdowns, ball drops, and off-key renditions of Auld Lang Syne.
Year after year, health-related goals top the list of New Year’s resolutions, and 2018 is no exception. Whether it’s getting back in the gym, taking a daily walk, or simply trying to eat better, most of us are familiar with re-focusing on healthy habits when January rolls around.
While the new year may be a great time to improve your physical health, it offers a perfect opportunity to boost your financial health as well.
Determine Your Starting Point
Like any good coach will tell you, it’s impossible to know how far you’ve come unless you know where you started. Before starting you on a new workout program, most trainers would administer a basic fitness test to measure your current strength, conditioning, flexibility, and power. Similarly, an honest assessment of your current checking, savings, investments, cash flow, and credit can provide a snapshot of your financial baseline and help identify areas for improvement.
Five Keys to Financial Fitness
- Checking: When it comes to your checking account, do you find yourself treating overdraft protection as a lifeline instead of a safety net? Brush up your banking skills by visiting CheckRight, a self-paced, online course designed to help you manage your money with confidence.
- Savings: It’s almost impossible to predict when car problems or job losses might happen, but setting aside 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund can help smooth out those unexpected bumps in the road. Save early, save often.
- Investments: The key to long-term financial success is making your money work for you. If you haven’t started planning for the future, there’s no time like the present to begin. Scient members receive a complimentary financial review, so contact our financial advisor for expert advice on college savings accounts, IRA options, 401(k)’s, and more.
- Cash Flow: When you need to make a big purchase, using credit cards can tie up your money in an endless cycle of interest payments. A personal loan or home equity line of credit can offer the financing you need—often with lower interest rates than most credit cards. That means you can hang onto more of your hard-earned money each month.
- Credit: Investments are one way to put your money to work, the Visa® Signature Helix card is another. By making purchases with your credit card and paying the balance off each month, you can strengthen your credit rating and earn money-saving rewards on dining, entertainment, and travel.
As you commit to getting financially fit in 2018, remember that progress is better than perfection. Focus on making small, manageable improvements, and when you look back at the end of the year, there’s a good chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how far you’ve come.