January and February are months for fresh starts and following through on the new year’s resolutions. Top of mind for most people is getting fit or shedding the extra pounds after holiday feasts. But getting your finances into shape and making this the year of improved financial fitness is just as important. Consider these tips for getting financially fit in 2018:
What can I do to shape up my finances in 2018?
- Make 2018 the year you get a solid savings plan in place and find someone who can hold you accountable to it. Your plan should include: making sure you are saving for retirement in 2018 and seeing if you can increase your savings by even 1% this year; and having an emergency savings plan – six months of living expenses saved is a common rule of thumb.
- Review and understand your credit report to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date, to correct any errors that could keep you from getting credit or the best terms on a loan, and to guard against identity theft.
- Review budget and spending habits to ensure your budget is realistic, reflects your financial goals, to reduce unnecessary spending, and to develop better habits and greater discipline in budgeting and spending.
- Review your account beneficiaries for retirement, life insurance, etc. Make updates as needed.
- If you are responsible or will be responsible for helping manage the affairs of an elderly family member or loved one, check in with them, ask questions and make a plan to help take care of their affairs.
- Make sure you are diversified in your asset allocation strategy to be able to withstand all the possible influences of the market.
What common pitfalls should I watch out for?
- Don’t put your finances on autopilot – Understand what’s happening with your accounts and investments.
- Take steps to protect your accounts – Check your account balances frequently using mobile and online banking. Revisit our Cyber Security Blog Post on simple steps to help protect yourself from online threats.
- If you are close to the time of Social Security benefits, ask for advice from a trusted resource to make a plan for payment and benefit options.
How Can OnPoint Help?
Whether you prefer to take charge of your finances online, or with the support of our neighborhood branch teams, OnPoint has an option for you. In addition to personal, one-on-one partnerships with your local branch manager and access to mortgage loan officers and financial advisors, OnPoint offers a full suite of financial tools and resources like investment workshops and home buyer’s seminars, online tools, and financial education and counseling.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward financial fitness in 2018, visit the financial education section of our website for seminar and workshop schedules, online calculators and links to additional resources.