EXERCISE more. Stop smoking. Lose some weight.

Although health-related resolutions always top the list, a survey conducted by TD Ameritrade suggests that a mere 32 per cent of Americans made a new year’s resolution to improve their financial health last year.

If you resolve to improve your fiscal fitness this coming year, good luck.

Keeping a financial resolution may actually require more willpower than shedding those few extra pounds.

Here are 10 financial resolutions to consider:



 Make a family budget

Gather all family members around a table and develop a family budget.

Making a budget and tracking expenses and income is an eye-opening experience for most people.

It gives families a clear understanding of where the money goes each month.

Try living by the budget for at least two months before making necessary adjustments.



 Consider refinancing your home

Home mortgage interest rates remain low right now.

If you plan to live in your house for a few more years and you can drop your rate by two points, then you should consider refinancing to lower your monthly payments.

Run the numbers — it may make sense if the lower payments will offset the refinancing fees and closing costs within a couple of years.



 Pay down debt

Make this year the year that you eliminate your credit card debt.

Make the commitment and start paying it off today.

Prioritise your debt by putting high interest rate debt at the top of the list.

Pay your high interest rate debt first and, most of all, resist using your credit cards while you are paying down your debt.



 Build up an emergency fund

Build up an emergency cushion. Life throws curve balls, so all of us need an emergency buffer that could sustain our families for at least three months.

You want to be able to get your hands on it quickly, so keep it in a savings account or a money market account so it will earn a little interest.



 Save for retirement

Start saving for retirement at an early age to take advantage of the power of compounding interest over several decades.



 Save for children’s education

Start saving for your children’s university education as early as possible. At that time, the money can be withdrawn to pay for their tuition.

Ask your financial consultant about other plans that may be suitable to help you meet your goal.



 Review your credit report

Your credit report may affect your mortgage rate, credit card approvals, apartment requests or even your job application, so it is imperative to review your credit reports once a year to monitor them for accuracy and possible fraud.

Indeed, your credit report will help you spot identity theft early (a major headache in today’s world).



 Go green

I am a big fan of online and mobile banking and bill payment — not just because it is good for the environment, but because it is a faster and easier way to conduct business.

All banks offer online banking, bill payment and paperless statements now.

Pay your bills wherever you are with just a click of the mouse or a tap of your phone’s screen.

It takes just a little time to set up your payees, but you will save so much time in the long run that it is worth every minute.

Most banks also offer funds transfer from one account to another via the Internet. Instant money transfers really come in handy when you have children away at college.

Finally, consider signing-up for e-bills and e-statements at participating companies.



 Automate, automate, automate

Automatic deductions from your pay cheque can save you time, money and help you achieve your savings goals effortlessly.

You can use automatic deductions to save towards many different financial goals such as retirement, purchasing a home and funding charitable donations.

If you have your funds automatically deducted, you won’t forget to save.



 Consult a certified financial planner

Sit down with a certified financial planner and either develop a financial plan that suits your life and goals or evaluate your existing portfolio.

A financial plan is simply a roadmap to your future — a means of saving, investing and growing your money to meet your specific goals.

And make sure that you choose a professional who has been certified by the appropriate authority.


Article by Amber Lanier Nagle. She has published hundreds of articles in US and regional magazines, two eBooks and facilitates writing workshops on freelance writing, writing about keepsakes and writing family stories. Article source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amber_Lanier_Nagle