While we may be knee-deep in holiday preparations and holiday shopping now, in just a few weeks we’re going to be ringing in 2023 and saying goodbye to 2022. As we inch closer to this new year, it’s only natural to reflect on 2022 to analyze its areas of strength and areas of improvement. For most families, this includes taking some time to think about finances.
Here’s a quick list of some financial “to do’s” we think all our members should tackle before the new year is upon us.
Before you get started on developing any financial goals for the new year, we strongly recommend getting organized first. Start by gathering all your bank statements, bills, and other documents related to your finances. You should also make sure you have easy access to any online accounts that are associated with your finances such as investment accounts or loan accounts.
Meet with a Financial Professional
With all your financial documents gathered, it’s time to move onto scheduling an EOY review with a financial professional. This is a critical way to make sure you’re maintaining and enhancing your financial wellness! If you don’t have a certified financial advisor, take heart – one of our certified financial counselors would be more than happy to help you.
With a financial professional by your side, you’ll be able to understand the full picture of what your financial statements, bank accounts, outstanding debts, and investments are saying about your financial health. After getting a good feeling of where you’re at, you’ll be able to develop goals that align with your current situation.
Set a New Budget for the Year
Now that you have a better pulse on your financial status, it’s time to design a budget for the new year. This will help you create boundaries for spending and can help you keep track of the comings and goings of your cash. Once your budget is complete, it’s time to set some realistic goals that can help you reach financial success this year.
Create SMART Goals
When creating financial goals for the new year, it’s important to remember the SMART acronym—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Generic statements like “I want to save more money” are not as effective as specific ones like “I want to save $1,500 by June 2023″. When writing your goals down, ensure they follow this acronym so that they are easier to track and measure progress on throughout the year. Additionally, setting smaller milestones throughout the year will help keep you motivated as well!
Make Savings a Priority
Be honest with yourself – how are your savings looking? If you’re worried that the holidays will empty your savings account, remember that as an RMLEFCU member, you have options that can help you avoid that situation.
Beefing up your savings account is a key component of setting yourself up for success in 2023. If you don’t have a robust savings account in place (or, if you don’t have an emergency fund built up), it’s important to develop an actionable plan that will help you get them back in fighting shape. Saving money requires being mindful of what we spend money on, so remember to take advantage of our ample member resources we have available (like our savings goal calculator!).
Make Sure to Keep Making TImely Payments & Monitor Your Credit Score
One of the best ways to maintain financial wellness is by keeping up with bill payments and monitoring your credit score throughout the year. Late payments show up on credit reports and can hurt your credit score significantly over time – thus, it’s important that all payments are made promptly when due every month. Checking in on your credit report (we recommend using the SavvyMoney feature in your RMLEFCU banking app to do this) every few months will help keep track of any changes or discrepancies as soon as they happen so they can be addressed right away before they have a chance to cause too much damage. The earlier any issues are discovered, the easier they are able to fix!
By following this EOY checklist, you’ll be able to take better charge of your finances and pave a path towards greater financial wellness in 2023. Whether you’re dead-set on paying off debt, saving up for a big family trip, building your savings, or making new investments, one thing’s for sure – having a plan in place makes it a whole lot less overwhelming to tackle!
Have questions about developing your new year’s goals and conducting a thorough EOY analysis of your finances? Don’t worry – our Certified Financial Counselors can help. Drop by any of our branches or call us at (303) 458-6660 for more information.
*Annual Percentage Rate. With approved credit. Some restrictions may apply. Rate subject to change.