10 Financial Resolutions to Keep In the New Year

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As the calendar nears the end of its final page, New Year’s resolutions once more become a conversational go-to.

Not just fodder for water cooler chat or office party banter, New Year’s resolutions crop up on media sources with predictable frequency come December each year. lists popular resolutions, from losing weight to decreasing alcohol intake; unsurprisingly, a third of the list deals with financial security. The New York Post recently published an article completed dedicated to credit card debt reduction through New Year’s resolutions. Time posted an inspiring piece titled “Why a New Year’s Resolution to Save More May Actually Work.” Business Wire likewise published an article in the same vein, “Can Making New Year’s Resolutions Improve Your Financial Health?”

With all of the publicity financial security garners during the holiday season, and the repetitive nature of the conversation, what resolutions deserve yearly attention?

1. Have A Family Meeting. Openly discuss finances with the whole family present—spouses and children, regardless of their ages.

2. Revisit Financial Goals. Look at the goals established for 2014. Were they met? Is your family still on track for longer-term goals?

3. Take An Inventory Of Spending Habits. Don’t “guestimate” how much you spend on a daily, weekly, monthly base. Look at your checkbooks and bank statements and categorize your habits.

4. Check In On Long-Term Financial Security Goals. Look at your retirement portfolios—are there elements that could be more optimally balanced? Is your portfolio adequately diversified? Look at other trusts and funds, such as college funds for kids.

5. Adapt Financial Plans And Formulate A Strategy For The Upcoming Year. Go a step beyond discussing goals and aspirations for the New Year and actually draft a plan.

6. Prepare For Tax Season Early. If your documents are not all centrally located, organize your pay stubs, receipts, itemized statements,

7. Plan for Upcoming Expenses Out Of the Norm. Is there a major event in the next year that needs to be planned for now? Weddings to go to? Graduations? Family vacations?

8. Evaluate Your Credit. Do not charge more than you can afford. Make an effort to pay off bills every month so you do not fall behind.

9. Embrace Personal Responsibility. Make it a daily goal to take responsibility for your own actions. Be aware of federal and state activities that could influence your financial stability, such as the bipartisan bill up before Congress dealing with pensions.

10. Review Life Insurance Policies and Other. Not only for yourself, but for your loved ones. If you have elderly parents, discuss how their financial situation is fairing. Pay attention especially to Social Security and Medicare changes that have changed or are rumored to change for the next year.

As the year comes to a close, consider these ten resolutions to keep your financial health in check and prosperous for the New Year and many years to come.

Written as a collaboration between NASDAQ Contributor and Benzinga Managing Editor Joe Young and Benzinga Personal Finance Staff Writer Rebecca Sheppard.


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