Many people choose the beginning of the year to make a resolution to improve their financial situation. The truth is, improving the situation you are in financially, is a good thing to do at any time of the year. Regardless of when you begin, it is important to begin, in order to improve your finances for the future.
Have a plan for dealing with collection agencies and follow it. Do not engage in a war of words with a collection agent. Simply ask them to send you written information regarding your bill and you will research it and get back to them. Research the statue of limitations in your state for collections. You may be getting pushed to pay something you are no longer liable for.
To avoid surprise deductions from your checking account, access your account online at least once a month. Scroll back through the previous month and make note of all the recurring automatic deductions from your account. Go ahead and deduct those in your check ledger now – even if it puts you in a negative balance. The money won’t be gone until the debit is posted, but you will know not to spend money on unnecessary items until you have built up enough of a balance to cover your recurring automatic debits.
Protect your credit score. Get a free credit report from each agency yearly and look for any unexpected or incorrect entries. You might catch an identity thief early, or find out that an account has been misreported. Learn how your credit usage affects your credit score and use the credit report to plan the ways you can improve your profile.
If you have managed your finances well enough to own a home and have a retirement account, don’t jeopardize those by borrowing against them later. If you borrow against your home and can’t repay it, you could lose your home; the same is true for your retirement fund. Borrow against them only in dire situations.
One important step in repairing your credit is to first make sure that your monthly expenses are covered by your income, and if they aren’t, figuring out how to cover expenses. If you continue to fail to pay your bills, your debt situation will continue to get worse even as you try to repair your credit.
If you are planning to adopt a child, do it this year. The government has created a larger tax break for those people who choose to adopt. It is not just for special cases, but all adoptions. This tax break can even be refunded if you don’t owe any taxes.
Try not to pay too much attention to what the financial news is saying. You can use it to inform your choices, but keep in mind that reporters are speculating the same way you are. Learn to trust your own instincts as much as you trust those of the newspeople.
If you (or your spouse) has earned any type of income, you are eligible to be contributing to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), and you need to be doing this right now. This is a great way to supplement any type of retirement plan that has limits in terms of investing.
It is imperative that one is able to draw from an emergency fund when emergencies arise. The first baby step is to save up 500 dollars of an emergency fund, and then as you can, increase it to 1000 dollars. After you are used to not touching your emergency fund and you start building, you should end up with three to six months worth of living expenses as your emergency fund.
You should start an emergency savings account! It is the best way to ensure that you have extra money for emergencies such as car problems, health issues, or family emergencies in which you may have to travel. Have part of your paycheck set aside to put in the account and do not touch it!
As you can see, it is very possible to improve your financial situation at any time of the year. Improving your finances isn’t something you should wait to do, so pick a date in the near future and do what needs to be done to get your finances in order.