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7 Tips to Start 2015 on the Right Foot Financially
As we draw close to 2015, our thoughts inevitably turn to resolutions and things we can change for the upcoming year. Many people choose financial goals, especially getting debt under control. For those of us with financial problems, it can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but there are seven simple steps you can take now to get started out on the right foot financially in 2015.
1. Pay down all debts immediately if at all possible. With holiday spending just behind us, it’s easy to fall just a bit behind on debt payments. However, resist temptation to put this off even further. Pay the minimum payment if that is all you can afford, but it is important to keep up with those deadlines. If you are not able to pay down all your debts, prioritize and pay what you can. Then create a realistic plan to deal with other debts.
2. Figure out a debt repayment and savings strategy for the year. Maybe this year will be a bit lean or maybe you will have an unexpected windfall. It is difficult to predict this early on. However, no matter what you face financially, a clear financial plan makes it easier to weather the storm. No matter how much debt you have, consider ideas like debt snowflaking, debt avalanche, or debt snowballing. Just make sure to think of a plan that will fit in your lifestyle and stick to it. If you have a lot of debt, we suggest that you speak to a law firm that focuses on consumer law.
3. Have an open and honest conversation with family members and your partner about your financial plans for the year. No person is an island, including you. Discuss major financial issues with the people it will affect and consider their viewpoints. It will be impossible for you to stay on plan if you are not all on the same page. Make sure that everyone’s concerns are addressed, and if you disagree about something. Take the time you need to figure it out.
4. Start tracking your expenses now and continue throughout the year. There are plenty of apps available to do this for you. Once you have a clear picture of how you actually spend your money, it will be much easier for you to cut extravagances if needed and figure out how to better save. This will help your long-term financial health.
5. Feed (or start) your emergency fund. Ideally, you should have 6 to 12 months of expenses available to you in a savings account at all times in case of an emergency. The start of the year is a great time to re-commit to this fund. Once you are tracking your expenses, you will have a clear idea of exactly how much this nest egg should be.
6. Set clear financial goals. It is easier to save when you know what your motivation is. Maybe you are trying to cover your child’s education. Maybe you have retirement on your mind. Whatever it is, figure out how much you will need, how long you have to make that money, and how you can manage the expenses until you reach your goal.
7. Let yourself ask for help if you need it. Everyone needs help with his or her finances from time to time. Maybe you simply want lower credit card rates. Call the credit card company and ask what they can do. Maybe you need to set up a retirement fund. Contact your bank about an IRA. Maybe you feel that even after all this planning that you are over your head with debt. That is okay. A bankruptcy or consumer law attorney may be able to help you determine the best course of action. Now that we are facing the new year, it is the perfect time to reach out for the help you need.
At Luftman, Heck and Associates, we hope that you had a happy holiday season and that you have a wonderful new year. We believe that the best way to make 2015 start off well is to get your finances in order, so we hope these tips will help you get started. If you still are struggling to find a way to deal with your debt, feel free to contact a Luftman, Heck & Associates Ohio consumer law attorney at (888) 726-3181 for a free consultation at any time. We are here to help you and your family get back on track financially this year, so reach out and find out what your options really are.