A new year of promise has arrived – the time to set personal goals, such as getting in shape. Those of us who have ventured into this territory know that getting fit is no easy task, particularly as we grow older.
But there is an easy way to get fit without any heavy lifting. It doesn’t even require you to plug in that treadmill or ever break a sweat.
It’s called getting financially fit.
And whether you’re just starting out in your financial life or nearing retirement, you can gain greater control of your money by following these simple exercises:
Set your financial goals for the year. Are you looking to reduce debt, build emergency savings, or set aside more for retirement? Determining and prioritizing your goals beforehand will help guide your financial decisions throughout the year.
Track your spending. The best way to take control of your money is to understand where your money is going. You should track fixed expenses, such as your rent or mortgage and car payment, as well as other expenses, including food, entertainment, gas, etc. You can utilize financial management programs or you can do it the old fashioned way – with pen and paper.
Utilize online and mobile banking. With these convenient banking services, you can pay bills and track your spending quickly and easily. You can set bill payment reminders and pay them automatically to ensure your bills are always paid on time. You can also arrange to have funds automatically transferred to your savings or investment accounts to put your savings on autopilot.
Review your insurance coverage. Though it’s often overlooked, insurance is a vital part of your financial plan. Review your insurance coverage to ensure you have adequate protection and that you are taking advantage of all the discounts available to you, such as multi-policy discounts.
Consolidate debt. Do you have left over holiday and other high-interest debt? You can reduce debt by consolidating your funds to a lower-interest option, such as a home equity line or loan. DNB First has a great rate on a home equity loan. Another way to reduce debt is to pay more than the minimum amount due on credit cards and other debt.
Review your mortgage. Mortgage rates are expected to rise at some point in 2015, so if you’ve been thinking about refinancing, now may be the right time. There are many good reasons to refinance, including reducing your payment, shortening the term of your mortgage, or eliminating private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down on your home when you bought it.
Meet with a financial advisor. When it comes to something as important as your financial future, it’s critical that you make informed decisions and understand all the investment options available to you. An experienced financial advisor will review your investment performance and objectives and help you make the right choices for your situation.
These are just a few easy exercises to help you get financially fit in 2015. If you follow this simple regiment, you can shed excess debt and be in great financial shape by the start of the next year. You can do it; no sweat.